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Father Shay Cullen is an Irish Columban missionary who has worked in the Philippines since 1969. In 1974, he founded the Preda Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to protecting the rights of women and children and campaigning for freedom from sex slavery and human trafficking.

All life is sacred

All life is sacred

Filipino Catholics mark All Souls' Day every Nov. 2 by visiting the tombs of their departed loved ones. (Photo by Jire Carreon)

Published: November 02, 2018 03:56 AM GMT
This is the week we are reminded of life and death and to think and work to preserve it in every way we can

Unless we take a stand for life, death will overwhelm us. That is the challenge that greets every one of us that has seen someone that we cared for and loved pass from this life.

It is the memory of that person that draws us back to the place where we felt their genuine love. We can be with them again in our imagination where we shared life and happiness with them. 

It is not the cold imperious presence of death in the cemetery among the silent tombs where we will relive those feelings of belonging to someone and having been loved by them. 

It is where we experienced them in life that we can be with them in death. Find the place on this earth where you shared joy and happiness with that person or persons. Then your life will be renewed and valued.

If the memories bring back the pain of loss then find a secluded place with a friend and have a good cry and release that pain and find comfort in the release. Then you will be free of the pain of loss and happy with your memories.

This is the week when we are reminded of life and death. Every day we should be thinking and working to preserve and celebrate life in every way we can. Starting with our own selves, "Doctor heals yourself."

We should take on a sustaining life-style, eat natural healthy food, and reject all processed meats and other sugary eats and drinks. If we eat vegetables, fish and fruits and exercise we will live a long healthy life, we will avoid diabetes, and will not be a burden to another person, as we grow old. Then we can celebrate our life and leaving it peacefully will be as good as living it.

To promote life we could visit the sick and be with them in their struggle for life. We could join a procession and carry a candle and a banner proclaiming that all life is sacred. We could then declare that all humans are of value, that life is sacred and precious and that it is a serious crime to kill a human being, or support anyone who does.

We could reach out in solidarity and help those whose relatives have been killed violently and brutally and unjustly. We should speak about the value of human life and dignity. We must also call out to protect the environment, and the ecosystem that is being damaged and destroyed and slowly dying because of uncaring humans. 

We can act to protect the creatures we share this planet with that humans are killing and driving to extinction. In the tropics extinction of hundreds of species is "imminent" says a scientific study. Human activity like deforestation, over-fishing and climate change are the causes.  

Life is beautiful and wondrous but many humans have lost that sensitivity and the meaning of being at one with nature and as a dependent part of our planet and bound in brotherhood and sisterhood with every human. Instead we pillage, kill and destroy each other and fill the cemeteries with the dead, victims all, mostly women and children.

We the species with the big brains and so-called intelligence have been overwhelmed by our basic instincts of avarice and greed. So that cutting a forest, destroying a river, shooting wild animals or waging a brutal unforgivable war of mass murder is considered as nothing. 

It is becoming the new normal, the acceptable face of modern human existence, a culture of death. It will be a dictatorship of the powerful where all must bow before the mighty ruling elite. These are the billionaires who dictate the way most will struggle to live, and try to defeat death in order to survive 

In Yemen, Syria and Myanmar people have been killed in their hundreds of thousands. Thousands more have been driven from their homes and left to struggle for survival in hovels and camps not fit for humans. The so-called civilized world looks away. 

So what life do they have in Yemen where famine and disease is ravaging a million people? They die at the hands of a coalition led by Saudi Arabia and its allies. They are armed to the teeth with U.S., U.K., French and German weapons, rockets, bombs, and missiles to kill the children and the hungry.

Meanwhile, the planet is smothered in the smog of death from toxic fumes pumped into the air day and night, endlessly endangering our children, men and women choking on the polluted air we breathe. 

The World Health Organization said recently that 90 percent of children worldwide are breathing toxic poison in the air and it is killing thousands of children and damaging millions more intellectually and physically. The numbers are staggering. There are as many as 1.8 billion children choking on toxic air that endangers the entire next generation.

The pesticides in food, chemicals in the air, on plants and in our lungs are causing multiple cancers. Eating is not a celebration of life but becomes a cause of death. We have to change our society, to protect our children, to live in a way where life is sacred to all.

Irish Father Shay Cullen, SSC, established the Preda Foundation in Olongapo City in 1974 to promote human rights and the rights of children, especially victims of sex abuse.

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