Reflecting on Violent Tragedies
Alexander, Andy, S.J.
Waldron, Maureen McCann
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Text from the first four paragrphs of "Reflecting on Violent Tragedies"The shocking murderous violence at an elementary school has shaken us all. Our very sense of security has been shaken. We ask questions about why this could happen, with a sense of outrage. We grieve and feel deep emotion, which touches all other sadness and emotion we are experiencing in our lives. We do not, and may not ever, know the details of what caused a person to shoot innocent people - especially little children and their teachers. However disturbed we may discover the person was, or whatever discussion may be begun about assault weapons in our midst, it is undeniable that we feel, individually and communally a sense of vulnerability - for ourselves and for our children.For now, our experience of the second part of Advent, and our preparations for Christmas are deeply disturbed. We hear of people or towns taking down their Christmas decorations, out of guilt for celebrations at this time, or simply a sense of not knowing what is the right thing to do before such a terrible reality which has visited us. What should we do? How should we respond? What does our faith offer us at this troubling time?At the heart of our Christian faith is the wonderful mystery of a Creator God who enters into a relationship with all of us who are created as unique and irreplaceable children, with infinite value. We must re-center our vision on the absolute dignity of every human life -- from conception to natural death. That respect for life much confront a culture of death on so many levels. Every life much be regarded as precious and we must work hard, work together, work with renewed zeal to re-introduce respect, reverence and special care into our regard for every human person. We must let the Holy Spirit into our discussions and into our divisions. We must pray for peace and healing in our own hearts and in our communities. The night before he died, Jesus prayed to his Father, "May they all be one." This must become our prayer and our mission. We must overcome our prejudices, or judgments, our bigotry. We must learn to deal with our hurts, our wounds, our anger in ways that respect one another and the absolute dignity of every person. We must learn to beat our "swords into plowshares" and our "spears into pruning hooks." [Isaiah 2]