I have always loved a good debate. In college when I was pursuing an Animal Science degree I never really liked the related classes I took, but without knowing it I was always drawn to the speech and writing classes. Many friends of mine have often told me that in heated conversations they just retreat back into their shells and end up not saying what they wanted to say. I, on the other hand have always had the opposite problem; I usually say too much and ALWAYS have to get in the last word. If I hear someone say something I don’t agree with, it’s just not in me to remain silent. Of course, I do try not to be pompous or arrogant about it- I just take advantage of the fact that we are supposed to live in a fair democracy which allows each of us to have an opinion. But speaking up can be both a blessing and a curse. On one particular day, I believe it was a blessing…It was my third year at Colorado State, and it was the first week of Speech class. Our professor said our first assignment would be the best way we could all get to know each other better. She asked each student to get up in front of the class and talk about three things he or she carried everywhere – and “NO, it can’t be a cell phone, headphones and a charger”! We all laughed, although sadly those are the items most in today’s society have in their possession at all times.
When I’m really excited about sharing something in conversation, I tend to start shaking a little. It’s not out of fear from stage fright, it’s more of a shaking caused by anticipation and fueled by adrenaline, I guess. When it was my turn, I made a joke and pulled out my cellphone, charger and headphones; the class laughed a little, but most looked at me with the expression “hello – did you not hear what the professor said?” I told them I was kidding, that I just wanted to break the ice to prepare them for what I REALLY wanted to show them. I was prepared for the fact that they might take my Introduction speech in a positive or negative way; either way, I was ready to share it. I then proceeded to pull out my Scapular, Rosary and my “Our Lady of Guadalupe-themed” purse; these items were truly the three things I had in my possession at all times. I can still remember the three “cowboys” sitting at the back of the room (Colorado State had a lot of agriculture majors) and I was thinking there would be no middle road with these guys; they would either love or hate this presentation. I explained what the Scapular was and how Our Lady had promised that anyone who wore it would never see the flames of hell.
I don’t really think modern society even thinks about Hell very much these days; hence the reason why Our Lady of Fatima showed the famous vision of Hell to the three shepherd children. It was to remind us that it is indeed a real place of terrible suffering and well, it’s forever. I don’t remember the expressions of the students faces during much of what I said, but I do remember their faces when I talked about Hell. To my surprise the class did NOT look at me like I was talking about a fantasy land; it was as if they were hearing about it for the very first time, or perhaps thinking about it in a new light. My college was in no way one with religious leanings, so it’s important to also take that into account. I talked so fast that the stopwatch still had some time when I was finished; in the silence that followed, I paused because it was all I had to say. The three ranch-guys in the back suddenly broke out into applause and cheered. I think that was my favorite part; their rough cowboy-look really had me fooled, but then again never judge based on appearances. Finally, the part I never saw coming happened. My professor said it was time for me to take questions. To my surprise, almost everyone in the whole class immediately shot their hands up in the air. It was definitely a day to remember.