It is a morning to pray. We woke up to the news today that the suspect behind the recent package bombs had been caught, and indeed had taken his own life in the process. Let us pray this morning together for peace in our city, for peace in our families, for peace in our own hearts.
Our answer makes a difference
I was really grateful I was able to go to an early mass this morning, and lift up this entire reality there on the altar. The priest spoke to the reality, too – to what happened, to the suspect, the victims…and also to the supernatural reality behind it. He spoke about how we all have evil and good inside, citing an old fable where evil and good are seen as two hungry “wolves” in each of us. “Which one will win?,” he asked, “…the one we feed.”
Whether we nourish ourselves on love or on hate makes a difference, and whether we nourish our hearts with the grace, love and mercy of God or the lies and fear of Satan makes a difference.
And we all are faced with that choice every day. It’s not a choice to be afraid of, and it’s not a reality to panic over either. But it is something to be taken seriously, in the sense that our “yes” makes a great difference in the world, for good or bad.
It’s natural for us to try to make sense of things when we are faced with great tragedies and suffering. And most often we look only to the natural world for answers, and forget to look also at the supernatural reality. During the next 24 hours, 7 days, etc, investigators will search for the natural explanation by combing through the young man’s history, psychological make up, social situation, etc, to seek for a motive and to help the world understand what happened. I could write a whole other blog (and perhaps I will?) on what I think about the social and psychological trends in our nation that are contributing to a society that produces individuals who are isolated, unpredictable, and violent; who are vulnerable to radicalization, vulnerable to suicide, and on a path towards hate. But, that’s for another day.
This morning I want to help us (and myself) to focus on the supernatural reality. When we forget to consider the reality behind that which we directly see and sense, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we lack faith, but rather I think it shows a greater cultural and social trend that has been growing for many, many years – the separation between everyday life and God, in all aspects of life.
Nothing without God, nothing with us
Let’s work to heal that separation by considering the supernatural reality behind what’s been happening in our city and in our world lately. And not just considering it, but actively participating in Christ’s healing mission for city here and now. Every mass we attend, every rosary and Stations of the Cross we pray this Lent, every consolation we offer and receive to each other as brothers and sisters, and every private prayer we utter is a window into God’s heart, and wants to be both a container for our sorrow and a vessel through which daily life is transformed by the grace of God.
If we don’t actively participate in this way – will this Lent make any difference in the world? Will Christ rise again this Easter in Austin? Maybe not. At least, not in the fullness of the glory God intends for us. This Easter will make a difference in Austin to the extent that each Christian takes seriously their own participation in the death and Resurrection of Christ, and gives their free, whole hearted yes in love to God.
This is our faith, this is what we believe. And we don’t have to worry, because God will always give us the grace and strength to say yes, and the Blessed Mother is there for us interceding for us and cheering us on at each moment. Dear Austin, let us pray together this morning, let us offer all our suffering to Christ on the altar – that which grieves us, which angers us, confuses us, that which surpasses our understanding – let us give it to Him so that in His passion this coming Easter He might once again conquer all fear in us, and proclaim once again the eternal victory of love and the resounding triumph of life over death.
Father, at the side of our Mother
let me accompany the Savior of the world
and see in his struggle of life and death
the powers standing behind all world events.
With his Bride, the Great Sign,
help me extend my weak hands to him as his instrument.
He is the Lord whom you have commissioned in love
to pass judgment on Satan.
I stand between the two great powers
which oppose each other in eternal battle.
In complete freedom I renew my decision for Christ
now and forever.
-Fr Joseph Kentenich
*Heavenwards, Way of the Cross of God’s Instruments, http://schhw.net/en/chapter_06.htm