Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Peace and Joy in Our Lord Jesus!
We live in troubling times. Many communities are being destroyed by violence. Our faith is being tested. I’ve had many conversations with parishioners about riots, thuggery and civil unrest. It is frustrating to see people get hurt. It is difficult to see people in service professions get disrespected and even killed and businesses and livelihoods being destroyed.
Violence is nothing new. It has existed since the fall of Adam and Eve. Cain killed Able. Violence destroys lives. It harms the dignity and the hopes of millions of people. Sadly, some have tolerated violence all along. Some accept violence in much of our media, movies, music and video games that often poison our minds. Violence, of course, often begins with words—written and spoken. I am amazed that people who often do not even know someone’s heart, will do violence to his or her reputation online by their posts. Why is it today, that behind our screens, we feel so qualified to “weigh in,” often in hurtful, anonymous ways?
Beyond the current street violence and social media, there is enough hostility, hatred, and indifference to go around. And it’s growing in our culture. What about the verbal and sometimes physical violence in families? Broken and fatherless families are crushing children who lack proper mentoring by men who care. What about the movies and television programs that are contributing to this culture of violence that we readily watch comfortably in our suburban easy chairs? What about the epidemic of pornography that assaults human dignity and most definitely contributes to violence against men, women and children?
Discrimination, in so many ways, destroys the ties that should bind us. And most especially, the violence that is perpetrated in the womb through abortion that has contributed to the deaths of millions of babies, destroying the lives of their parents who live with long term grief in the process. Have we contributed to the violence of suicide that has dramatically increased in recent years by living isolated and selfish lives.
As a priest, I don’t like to call attention to problems without talking about solutions. I am incredibly hopeful about our ability to overcome what ails us with the grace of God and seeking His ways. I also am beginning to think that what is most troubling about the violence that we are experiencing today is that, at least in our minds, it used to be elsewhere—in the inner city, far away on a battlefield, or in an abortion clinic. Could it be, that we are most disturbed because it is potentially coming into our neighborhood and our streets instead of someone else’s?
There is a sin called indifference that manifests itself in resignation--that because bad things happen, we are not obligated to resist evil or do good or be a part of the solution. When we are ruminating in our modern-day fears, it seems that our national problems are too big for us to make any difference. But looking at the list of modern-day violence that I mentioned above, that existed WAY before this summer of unrest, perhaps there IS something we can do to promote peace. Pick one. Instead of watching the news all the time, spend some time in adoration and come to Holy Mass more often. We could all pray a bit more. Pray the Rosary and the Chaplet of Diving Mercy. Read about the lives of the Saints. Fast regularly.
I am attaching a beautiful prayer that gets to the heart of things written by Archbishop Aymond. Let’s make it part of our daily prayers.
God have mercy on us in the United States and throughout the world as we refuse to follow your command of peace. Give your blessing to those who have died, their families, and to those who protect us through law enforcement. Lord Jesus we weep with you. Please use our prayers, hearts and hands to build peace in our families and in our world. Wherever in my heart there is a hint of violence and revenge, mercifully help me to a change of heart. Lord, let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. Amen.
May our Patroness, most powerful St. Bernadette, obtain for each of us the grace to one day meet God face to face and may Our Lady be our solace and guide in every endeavor, joy, and trial! And may the Holy Eucharist be our wisdom and strength!BACK TO LIST