In 2007, Faber-Castell, one of the World’s largest Pencil manufacturers created what is the “World’s Most Expensive Pencil” to commemorate it’s 240 Year Anniversary.
Officially known as “The Perfect Pencil”, Only 99 were ever made. The Pencil, valued at $12,800 is made of “240 Year Old Olivewood”. The Endcap is made up of 18k White Gold and includes a built-in pencil sharpener. Three Diamonds are encrusted beneath the company’s coat-of-arms.
On the Surface, the value of this “Little Treasure” would seem obvious.
During Sunday’s Homily we had an opportunity to watch parts of a documentary entitled “Holy Cows!” produced by Salt and Light. A summary can be Found Here:
The Story of Uganda is one that we have heard too often. Colonized by Britain in the late 1800′s, the country is one of the Poorest nations in the World after suffering from decades of the devastating effects of Colonialism, Political instability and Foolish economic policies.
One of the more poignant scenes from the documentary was that of a young boy, clutching a simple wooden pencil as though it was his most valuable possession. That scene for me really brought to light, how fortunate we are and how little we value what is Truly Important in our Lives.
What is striking is that this Young Child understood both the Pencil’s Intrinsic and Extrinsic Values. The Pencil was his means to a better life. The Pencil was a vital school supply. It would allow him to complete his homework and other assignments. It wasn’t something that he could purchase at the local Office Depot. This was indeed a Rare and Valuable “Little Treasure”.
To him it truly was “The Perfect Pencil”.
Most of us are too caught up in our Daily lives to notice the Important things. We complain about the Traffic, the Weather and how we can’t afford what are clearly luxuries. We get trapped in trying to pursue the “American Dream”.
We have allowed Greed and Consumerism to corrupt our perception. As a result, our definition and understanding of what is valuable is no longer reliable. Our judgement has been clouded.
We have to stop the Commodity Fetishism.
We need to Purge our Temples Just as Jesus did when he threw the Merchants out.
Jesus set an Example for us. Now We should do the same.
A political attitude of rejecting immigrants is growing, whereas the economies still need to hire them. It is obvious to everyone that we are before the tendency of many countries to entrench themselves, to close in on themselves, to ensure the level of well-being attained within their walls, but without paying sufficient attention to the needs of those outside the walls with a grave omission of the principle of solidarity.
In recent times, the so-called “armored communities” have been growing, and we may be about to witness the birth of “armored continents”, with Europe and North America in the front line. We will probably see new iron curtains fall soon, with tightened border controls and new coastal defense measures. Some venture to say that the reinforcement of the borders does not serve only or in first place to stop the migratory movements — which in fact continue — but to define the migrants that cross them as illegal, thereby giving them an identity that puts them in a position of inferiority and a lack of rights: an army of invisible people who can be blackmailed and exploited[3
The sense of insecurity which the European citizens feel today is caused, on the one hand, by the inevitable generational changes and, on the other, by an economic globalization without rules. Therefore, shifting the blame for the instability on the migrants – rather than facing realistically the problems that have roots elsewhere – appears to help create in public opinion the image of a State that is vigilant and concerned about its citizens' security, and this fuels the fear of others and of migrants in particular.
We have to reaffirm, in fact, that the diversity brought by the migrations is not a given: there are different things, individuals and cultures. Often, throughout history, these differences have been used to dominate or discriminate and their value was rarely enhanced. Instead, to conceive of diversity as a value means to develop a pluralistic view of reality where recognition, respect and promotion of diversity is possible and hopeful.
Today's migrations are characterized by a great complexity of factors. It should not be forgotten that the migrants themselves do not play a passive role; on the contrary, they are the immediate protagonists both from the standpoint of protecting their fundamental human rights and observing their duties. They are driven by grave needs to leave or, in some cases, to flee from their countries; but they also make choices and move in order to fulfill individual or family projects to improve their living conditions, often with courage and determination. These are choices that all of us would make if we were in the same situations.
Punitive measures are not enough. Often they do not even discourage new departures but only make them more dangerous or costly. The political exploitation of migrations without really taking the necessary precautions is even more damaging. This can unleash xenophobic resentment in the local people and, as a result, violent reactions that may even find justification in the words of one politician or another, such as, “You have to be mean with the illegal immigrants”. Instead, the question should be asked: How can the supply and demand for labor be met without making the foreign workers always go through the door of illegality
And then: How much is invested in integration to build a society – which is already multiethnic – in which cohesion, reciprocal respect and dialogue will not be lacking? What is done for schools, which are confronted more and more with the insertion of boys and girls of foreign origin, and for the poorer neighborhoods where autochthones and immigrants live together amidst various social hardships? Can cooperation with the migrants' countries of departure and transit continue to consist solely of financing detention centers (or “concentration camps”) on their territory?
“Emigration, in almost every case, is not a pleasure but a necessity...by preventing it a sacred human right is violated, by abandoning it to itself it is made ineffective...it is the sincere expression of a permanent state of things:” Giovanni Battista Scalabrini wrote this in 1887. Migrations, therefore, are a structural reality of our time. It is everyone’s task to look after it for the common good, also by stressing respect for the norms, traditions and customs of the countries that welcome the migrants.
Therefore, the Encyclical Caritas in veritate confirms that the migratory flows, with all the components of the movement of entry, transit and exit, are no longer an experience limited to some areas of the planet. They constitute a worldwide and permanent phenomenon, bearing in mind that together with the international migrations, massive displacements also take place within a one same region and that urbanization has now become a characteristic fact of modern societies, also as a consequence of the internal and international economic-productive imbalances. In fact, Benedict XVI writes: “We are facing a social phenomenon of epoch-making proportions that requires bold, forward-looking policies of international cooperation if it is to be handled effectively”
In any case, the horizon we must not lose sight of is the centrality of the human person, “the primary capital to be safeguarded and valued…in his or her integrity” (No. 25), with attention to the protection of the rights both of the individual migrants and their families, and of the societies that receive them.
However, while the problematic aspects stand out rather easily, the positive elements should not be underestimated, even if only from the economic viewpoint related to development. In fact, “foreign workers, despite any difficulties concerning integration, make a significant contribution to the economic development of the host country through their labor, besides that which they make to their country of origin through the money they send home” (Ibid.). Precisely in the area of the market system, however, the Holy Father’s voice rings out with tones of alarm and denunciation to warn those who exploit the migrants’ weak and vulnerable condition because “these laborers cannot be considered as a commodity or a mere workforce. They must not, therefore, be treated like any other factor of production”
Lastly, the concluding statement in No. 62 re-proposes principles on which the Church is not willing to negotiate precisely because in the mystery of the Incarnation and the Redemption, she contemplates the dignity and respect of every creature wanted “in the image and likeness” of the Creator. Therefore, “every migrant is a human person who, as such, possesses fundamental, inalienable rights that must be respected by everyone and in every circumstance” (ibid.).
Migrations, in this framework, are alongside “the technical forces in play, the global interrelations, the damaging effects on the real economy of badly managed and largely speculative financial dealing [...] and the unregulated exploitation of the earth’s resources” (ibid.). Migrations, moreover, have a twofold value connotation: first, they have reached considerable dimensions today and so due to this quantitative weight alone, they cannot be neglected. Second, the migrant’s wounded face is increasing clear in the turmoil of movements which are not an expression of free choice, but “often provoked”: that is, caused by erroneous policies, in particular to thwart illegal immigration. In fact, the more restrictive the measures are, the more the number of illegal migrants and traffickers in foreign labor grows. So even the most protected borders are crossed daily by people who flee from unacceptable living conditions and do not stop before dangers and obstacles of any kind.
Finally, it is a question of improper management when integration is hindered by impracticable conditions and when everyone’s participation in looking after the common good is just a proclamation that has no way of being carried out.
For this reason, two extremes need to be avoided: absorption, the complete assimilation into the dominant society to the detriment of the migrant’s identity, and exclusion, which includes the danger of marginalization.
“Each man is loved by God. No one is excluded from his love. This is the principle of universal salvation”, as John Paul II stated in the Message for the 1987 World Day of Migrants.
For us, believers, the foundations of respect and hospitality for migrants are contained in the Word of God. In fact, the invitation to love foreigners comes from God himself: “When an alien resides with you in your land, do not molest him. You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; have the same love for him as for yourself; for you too were once aliens in the land of Egypt. I, the LORD, am your God” (Lev 19:33s). The New Testament recommends hospitality, welcome and respect for the equal dignity of all human beings. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, for examples, proclaims that we are no longer “strangers c c and sojourners, but…fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God” (Eph 2:19).
Unfortunately, the biblical messages in favor of foreigners have not always had adequate application in catechesis and praxis. Indeed, the little attention given to the biblical text may be one of the reasons why Europe has given in, and still gives in to forms of nationalism and xenophobic closing. The presence of migrants in our midst reminds us that from the biblical standpoint, freedom and well-being are gifts and as such can only be maintained if they are shared with those who do not have them. So since we give value to the person and the dignity of each person as an image of God, it is important to be committed so that the equality of all human persons will be realized.
Indeed, the migrations of peoples raise some serious questions today: How to welcome the new immigrants? To what point should we go in accepting the life traditions of those who come from other cultures? What real possibilities do we have to experience an encounter of civilizations that will not be a clash or a conflict? These questions do not admit simplistic answers that are all the more attractive the more they are demagogic and unrealistic. In the new, irreversible pluricultural context, what social cohabitation should be built so it will be just and solidarity-based? How should the society be so it will be at the service of the people and the different human groups that compose it?
In attempting to give a response, a threefold model can be hypothesized: a society that rejects differences; a society that tolerates differences; a society that includes differences.
The Church wants to affirm the culture of respect, equality and the evaluation of diversities which sees the migrants as bearers of values and resources. For these reasons, she suggests revisiting policies and norms that jeopardize the protection of fundamental rights, such as the right to family reunion, access to citizenship and the stability of one’s migratory project. She also expresses strong dissent regarding the ever more restrictive praxis in granting the refugee status, and the more and more frequent recourse to the detention and expulsion of migrants.
Entire Post From: (http://www.zenit.org/article-29067?l=english)
How can one change, alter or add to this?
Thanks to His Grace Archbishop Vegliò for his wise words…
It couldn’t be just Arizona, now could it???
Here is a GREAT Report by one of my Favorite Political Commentators, Stephen Colbert.
Okay, so he’s a Political Satirist/Comedian, same Difference :P
Either way, if you have a minute, check this out:
In Canada, this link works:
This is the US Link, I couldn’t get it to work here in the Great White North…or Almost Totally Green North :)
And here I go again…But I really, really, had to address this last comment on yesterday’s post though:
Yeah right. Millions of Americans cannot get jobs, but all these illegal aliens not only have jobs, but they receive all kinds of benefits most Americans cannot receive. It’s all B.S. and they need to be gone! I can’t believe that OBAMA the world’s Savior at my expense is not supporting this bill. This bill should be a Federal Government Bill. It should be the LAW OF THE LAND. If you can’t prove you are a citizen, or applying for citizenship, or here on a Visa, then you need to leave! It is NOT against ANYONE’S Civil Rights that we will not support Illegal Aliens. Wake Up America.
The only people who are against this law are people who are illegal or people who get votes by supporting illegals. Americans do not want illegals here, and if they are working for you, then stop the minimum wage law, and other Americans would be able to work for you.
This is insanity, and I am all for Sanity in America, NOW. Thank you Arizona.
I really do understand the issue with Illegal Immigration. It is a problem. That being said, the way that S.B. 1070 is going about it in its first 2 pages is only fueling ignorant, blind hate.
Some of the other proposals are great…but not good enough.
The person who posted this comment on CBS 2′s Website says, “Americans do not want illegals here, and if they are working for you, then stop the minimum wage law, and other Americans would be able to work for you.”
The Americans that DO want Illegals in the US are Employers who want CHEAP LABOR. It is as simple as Supply and Demand. In the US there exists a Demand for Cheap Labor and Illegal Immigrants Supply it. How to fix it?
People come to the “Land of Opportunity” to create a better life for themselves and for their families. Many risk their lives to do so.
We all have knowledge of this. A person crossing Illegally into the US first must deal with Coyotes. The person or persons that will cross them over the border. Many, many, of these Coyotes will take an innocent person’s life savings, take them to the Cerro, the desert, someplace near the border or just past it and beat them, kill them, rape them, abandon them. Other Coyotes wait until they have gathered a good number and then cross them into the US and leave them on farms or ranches, to work, practically as slaves! They cannot contact family, friends, they are put too many to a shed as living quarters, no washroom, no mess hall, nothing. They are told that they did not have enough money and therefore must work for their freedom. Others are held for ransom. There are many horror stories. And yet, somehow some are able to enter into the US and work.
Those that do arrive and work, go around searching for anything! They just want to work. So, they go to a possible Employer. Now, the employer knows that this person does not have permission to work legally, but that does not bother them. What they see is a big wad of money to line their pockets. Since the person does not have papers, they will work long hours without OT. They will work without breaks. They will go above and beyond for less money than a person who knows they have rights and what they are. The Illegal Employee will tolerate abuse, harassment, anything…they do not want to lose their jobs! They will be threatened if they so much as dare to complain. Threatened how? “I will call Immigration on you!”
What is the result? Money. A Lot of Money for the Employer. No need to pay insurance for an Illegal. No need to pay sick days, or any type of benefits. Pay LESS than Minimum Wage…And here it is! If there does not exist a Minimum Wage Law, guess what? Employers CAN and WILL pay LESS! Hence the NEED for a minimum wage law.
Therefore, if the Employers have access to a Huge profit margin hiring Illegal Immigrants, they will! Now, if there is no Demand. If Arizona and every other state did not have Employers that did this, then there would be absolutely no reason at all or whatsoever for a person to risk everything to cross a border illegally. If they knew that they could not come into the US to create a better life, then why go into the US? Do you see how simple. Again, no Demand, then they Supply stops.
What I am saying is tear into Big Corporate America. Big, Greedy, Corporate America that cares not about their workers, their workers rights, where the workers come from, fairness, or any of those things that may cause them to lose profits. They only care about themselves. They can never, never have too much profit. They could care less about people’s rantings and ravings against Illegals. In fact, the first two pages of S.B. 1070 that deal with the Illegal Immigrant favors Corporate America!
The more we focus on the “Illegals,” then the less we see what the real problem is and how to fix it. They, the Top 5%, are more than happy to fuel the Average American’s Ignorance and Hate. They are more than happy to divert the attention from them, because while we are busy pointing fingers and defending the Individuals, they keep raking in the dough!
The more hatred grows against our brothers and sisters, then the less likely we are to notice their pockets getting fatter…Do we see this? Can we see this?
Enough with the Racism. Enough with the Hatred. Enough with the Pointing of the Fingers. Enough finding Scapegoats. Let’s FIX the problem at its root! The Real Root of it all…as cliché as it is…