Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Responding to Tragedy

A sampling of some of the headlines today:

Grief, anger as all but one miner found dead

'190 feared dead' in landslide

36 killed, 40 wounded in Iraqi funeral blast

I try to keep my posts on fairly light matters, but sometimes I can't help but be affected by world events. It reminds me of something I read in the Catholic Catechism recently:
The body's unity does not do away with the diversity of its members: "In the building up of Christ's Body there is engaged a diversity of members and functions. There is only one Spirit who, according to his own richness and the needs of the ministries, gives his different gifts for the welfare of the Church." The unity of the Mystical Body produces and stimulates charity among the faithful: "From this it follows that if one member suffers anything, all the members suffer with him, and if one member is honored, all the members together rejoice." Finally, the unity of the Mystical Body triumphs over all human divisions: "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

So one cannot help but feel connected and sorrowful to these events. Even though the above paragraph is speaking of the Church, I cannot help feel similarly for mankind in general. Those in the Body of Christ share a special connection to each other for we form one Body united by the Holy Spirit. Still that is not to say that we are not also connected to our brethren all over the world. When I hear reports of Muslims in Indonesia calling out "Allah Akbar" as they drown in mud, I cannot help but feel that in spite of our religious differences they are calling out to the same God, the Father.

How do we respond to such tragedy? How do we respond to so many events of disaster, acts of nature and acts of man, that result in seemingly senseless death?

There are many ways to respond. But the simplest and perhaps most powerful appeal one can make is always to pray. So upon hearing such news I take a moment and pray. I pray for the families of the lost miners. I pray everyday for the Iraqi people. I pray for all those suffering from natural disasters and acts of war. Sometimes even these moments don't seem enough though, and I feel a need to do even more. That's when I pull out the big guns: sometimes I pray a Rosary for world peace or I retreat for a little while to the peaceful quiet of a church and hand my concerns over to God.

Tonight, as every Wednesday night, at St. Catherine's parish in Pelham there will be a silent hour for prayer for peace at 7 PM. I think tonight I will be found there. I invite anyone in the area to join me.

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