By Tom Liotti, Village Justice
I am not a religious person, but I do have enormous respect for people of faith including my late adoptive father Louis who was a daily communicant throughout much of his life. His prayers were dedicated to his family, the community, our nation and world peace. I was inspired by his focus and devotion. He often remarked that the power of faith is the greatest of all gifts. In our religious community of Westbury, Carle Place, New Cassel and Old Westbury we can proudly state that we are home to more than 30 religious institutions which are all about harnessing the power of prayer into positive energy. All of this meditation cannot be bad.
A friend who was Chief Assistant to Henry Kissinger, after he left office as Secretary of State tells a story about Kissinger sharing a book with her published in 1948 by Claude Bristol entitled: The Magic of Believing. Kissinger it seems is a believer so out of curiosity I bought the book. The author writes of several experiments which he believes show the power of positive thought. One involved four magnets being placed in a pool of water and the thinker focusing on moving a magnet in a particular direction—it worked!
For me this was not a eureka moment with respect to prayer but I had to admit to myself that when I have concentrated my energies, thoughts and desires on a particular objective, I have found success, not always, but often.
As a lawyer, I am often faced with difficult or seemingly impossible cases. I worry a lot about the people who have entrusted me with their causes. So my office manager Rosemary Ellerby, a native of Westbury and a religious person, told me I should pray for Saint Rita’s intercession. She Googled Saint Rita of Cascia, Italy for me. She is the Patron Saint of Impossible Causes and lived from 1381 to 1457. She was Canonized in 1900. She was known as the patroness for abused wives and heartbroken women. Since I was the editor of a book on domestic violence, this appealed to me. But even better, Rita’s name at birth was Margherita Lotti, just missing the “i” for my last name.
All of this, of course, may be nothing more than coincidence, but I had occasion this past week to compare these positive thoughts with interviews of suicide bombers, particularly children. It is shocking to learn of their ignorance, brainwashing by terrorists and their beliefs that detonating bombs and killing others will give them a place in heaven and that the bombs will explode outward without causing harm to them. This is the power of negative thinking being promoted by ISIS, the Taliban and Al Qaeda. It is a formidable cultural block, endemic in that part of the world. To overcome this negativity we must foster positive thinking, education and specific actions to overcome these dangerous barriers to peace. It is our foremost challenge and will be for years to come.