The Tragedy of Las Vegas – “And Jesus Wept.”

And Jesus weptThe tragedy of what has occurred in Las Vegas, the enormity of it, has yet to be fully felt by many of us.  The raw power of the images we have seen on television, our computers, and tablets; has hit us all in the gut.  The politics, the partisan speeches, the proposals; they will, they must come, but later.  Right now, we need to mourn for those who have died, We need to help the wounded, and the survivors.  We need to stand with those who have lost loved ones.  We need to come together as a nation, as a people; in the face of such evil.

Psalm 57  (Confident Prayer for Deliverance)

Have mercy on me, God,
have mercy on me.
In you I seek refuge.
In the shadow of your wings, I seek refuge
till harm pass by.

I call to God Most High,
to God who provides for me.

May God send help from heaven to save me,
shame those who trample upon me.
May God send fidelity and mercy.

I must lie down in the midst of lions
hungry for human prey.

Their teeth are spears and arrows;
their tongue, a sharpened sword.

Be exalted over the heavens, God;
may your glory appear above all the earth.

Eternal rest grant onto them, O Lord! And let perpetual light shine upon them!  Through the mercy of God, may they all rest in peace.

Francis crys

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9/11 – An Anniversary of Sorrow and Loss

Our Lady of Sorrows 911Today is the 16th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the United States that changed this country for years to come.  Never, in the history of the Republic, were so many civilian lives lost through such brutal acts.  There have been other attacks on this country since then, but this particular assault will remain seared in our memories for ages to come.

We pray for the souls of those family members, friends, fellow Americans who were lost.  We pray for those who still grieve for the loss of loved ones.  We grieve for our country, still bearing the scars of that day.  We pray:

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,
Our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To thee do we cry,
Poor banished children of Eve;
To thee do we send up our sighs,
Mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then, most gracious advocate,
Thine eyes of mercy toward us;
And after this our exile,
Show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving,
O sweet Virgin Mary.  Amen.

 

“Cry Havoc…!”

Tonight, the country learned that President Trump ordered the launching of cruise missiles against a Syrian air base.  This was in response to the Syrian government’s air strike, with gas bombs, against civilians in rebel held territory.

I will be the first to admit that I am split personality in my reactions to this.  The pacifist in me fears that this is the first step to a deeper conflict.  The realist in me acknowledges that the Syrian government must learn that there is a price to pay when they use deadly gas against civilians.  One has only to look at the pictures and videos of gasping, dying children; to realize something needed to be done.  But now that the missles have flown, what happens next?  Do we have a Commander in Chief who will know what to do, now that he has “….let slip the dogs of war.”  I hope so; but in the meantime, I will add my prayers to countless others, that the Father will guide us and protect us:  

I raise my eyes toward the mountains.  From where will my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.

The Lord will guard you from all evil, will always guard your life. The Lord will guard your coming and your going, both now and forever.   (Psalm 121: 1-2, 7-8)

“…And In His Saints!” A Work of Fiction from a Real Tragedy

niceThe French EMT helps load another stretcher into the ambulance, and shuts its doors as it takes off.  She wearily turns around and looks down the street of tragedy; lined with the injured, and the dead.  Just a little while ago it was full of people, celebrating the founding of a republic, celebrating Bastille Day.  Then tragedy struck in this city of Nice; one maniac in a truck, mowing the people down.  Now, there is fear, agony, and grief.  And her heart is screaming:  “Where are You in all of this?”

She closes her eyes for second.  When she opens them, she is looking at the curbside.  She notices for the first time, a little friar, dressed in a patched brown habit.  He is holding the hand of an injured child, singing a French ditty for her.

The sound of sobbing draws her attention to two women, kneeling over a covered body.  One of them is bent over with grief; the other has her arm around the grieving woman’s shoulders, holding her tight.  This woman looks like she is from the Middle East.  She is wearing a long blue veil; her face looks as if she has known much sorrow in her life, and now she is comforting another woman through hers.

The EMT looks further down the street of tragedy and saw a police officer standing guard.  He nervously stares out into night, holding his rifle tight.  The EMT blinks her eyes, because she could swear there was a girl standing next to him.  She is dressed like a French peasant, with short-cropped hair.  Her hand is gripping the officer’s shoulder, as with fierce eyes, she also stares into night with him.  Is that a sword in her other hand?

Movement next to her drew the EMT’s attention.  She stares at her medical bag, and sees that someone has placed a red rose in it.  She looks quickly behind her and thinks she sees a nun, a Carmelite nun, disappearing into the crowds.  She turns around again, but the people she saw, the friar, the woman in blue, the peasant girl, have also disappeared.  She looks down to her bag, the rose is real.  As she looks at it; she suddenly no longer feels so alone.  She grabs her medical bag, takes a deep breath, and walks back down the street of tragedy.

“Blessed be God in His Angels and in His Saints.”

And Jesus Wept

Memorial Orlando ShootingsThe tragedy in Orlando FL has shaken the country.  Yet, there are those who say the people, the victims, who attended the nightclub; got what they deserved.

Whether you accept their lifestyle or not; these were human beings, created by God.  And Jesus wept.

There are politicians who cry out for banning Muslims from our shores.  The majority here are hard-working, and law-abiding.  Those who wish come here; are seeking refuge from violence.

They wish only to exercise the rights that are the foundation of this country; “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  But some of us want to turn them into objects of fear.  They are human beings, created by God.  And Jesus weeps.

And Jesus wept

San Bernardino Tragedy – A Prayer

Francis weeping“Once I said:  ‘In the noontime of life I must depart!  To gates of the nether world I shall be consigned for the rest of my years’…

Like a swallow I utter shrill cries; I moan like a dove.  My eyes grow weak gazing heavenward; O Lord, I am in straits; be my surety!…

What I am to say or tell him?  He has done it!  I shall go on through all my years despite the bitterness of my soul.  Those live whom the Lord protects; yours…the life of my spirit.  You have given me health and life; thus is my bitterness transformed into peace.

You have preserved my life from the pit of destruction. When you cast behind your back all my sins.”  (Isaiah: 38: 10a, 14, 15-17)

Another senseless massacre, more innocent lives lost, more victims suffering from wounds received.  It is easy to give in to the anger, and the fear.  It easy to strike out at the groups we identify with the threat, even though a majority of them are innocent, law-abiding citizens. It is easy to agree with those pundits and politicians, who will soon be calling for expulsions, and closing of places of worship.

The challenge is to remain faithful to the ideals that founded this country, that has drawn so many people, so many refugees to its shores.

And finally,  we cannot give into despair, but draw on that faith in God, that he will still sustain us during these uncertain times.

“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Thess 4: 14)

 

 

Terror Strikes Again!

pray for parisMy wife and I do not turn on the TV much during the day.  When I do, I am usually watching TV reruns, until it is time for the evening news.  So yesterday, I was shocked when I saw the breaking news on WCVB TV, Channel 5, about the terrorist attacks throughout the city of Paris, France.

I know the scientific research is out there explaining it, but I still cannot understand why a human person can inflict so much pain, so much suffering, on another person.  How individuals can turn the great religions of humanity, faiths that teach peace, tolerance, charity, and mercy; and use them as the reason for slaughtering so many innocent men, women, children, and themselves!

In the face of so much evil, so much suffering, so much death; you cannot blame someone losing their faith in a merciful God.  As bad as things are in the world, as much as I may, at times, give in to despair; I cannot abandon my faith in God, nor my love for my Creator.  The Father sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to show us the path to true peace.  God the Son, came into the world, so that by his death and Resurrection, we are freed from the fear of suffering and death.  That does not mean that we will not encounter suffering.  That does not mean we will not continue to experience death, of loved ones, and our own.  But God has shown us that there is a sunrise to defeat the darkness, that life, transformed and glorified, does exist.  That there is hope.

The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them.  They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction.  But they are in peace.” (Wisdom 3: 1-3)