"The souls of the just are in the hands 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."
It's been a rough week. I am pretty sure we are all still reeling from the evil that took place last Friday in Newtown, Connecticut. And those of us with six- and seven-year-olds cannot stop imagining, "What if…" and holding our little ones tight.
1) In First Century Palestine, the evil King Herod ordered the slaughter of all the male children two years and under, hoping to kill the Christ Child. Horror and grief filled the land, and their mothers could not be consoled. We ask the Holy Innocents for intercession in our own day.
A Prayer To The Holy Innocents
Holy Innocents, you died before you were old enough to know what life means, pray for all children who die young that God may gather them into His loving arms.
Holy Innocents, you were killed because one man was filled with hatred, pray for those who hate that God may touch their hearts and fill them with love.
Holy Innocents, you experienced a violent death, pray for all who are affected by violence that they may find peace and love.
Holy Innocents, your parents grieved for you with deep and lasting sorrow, pray for all parents who have lost young children that God may wrap a warm blanket of comfort around them.
Holy Innocents, those around you certainly felt helpless to prevent your deaths, pray for all who feel helpless in their circumstances that they may cling to God for courage and hope.
Holy Innocents, you who are now in Heaven, pray for all of us that one day we may join you there to bask in God's love forever.
The Feast of the Holy Innocents is December 28, and I know this Feast will take on special significance for many of us this year.
2) Fr. Barron addresses the tragedy:
3) Too many articles I've read over the past week deal only superficially in policy and politics and do not touch upon the reality of evil and the darkness of the human heart.
A few commentators, however, have gone deeper in exploring our primal sicknesses. Dr. Gerard Nadal at Coming Home wrote a notable piece:
Causes and Remedies.
That’s what we want. A nation addicted to fast food and fast answers, where the police solve the crime in one hour on TV (less if we factor in the commercials). The difficulty with real life is that the answers are often elusive. That’s frustrating when calamities on the scale of Sandy Hook are visited on us, because humans cannot bear the chaos of random evil.Read the rest, here:
4) Ben Stein, a Jew, can see the darkness as well, and includes comments "that will enrage the beautiful people" -- and no doubt he is right on that score, as you will see:
No need to sugar coat the truth of it.
5) I am not a gun owner, nor am I a member of the NRA. I support the Second Amendment, but it's not my passion, and I understand on an emotional level why ordinary folks want to blame guns for the atrocity of Sandy Hook. But I think Charles Hurt is on to something with his piece in the Washington Times:
A 20-year-old man grows up in America with every luxury imaginable. He is incapable, we are told, of feeling any pain. He is excruciatingly shy and utterly isolated. He is not able to fathom that other people around him have emotions and feelings. Computers and modern technology are his most treasured haven. He plays, we are told, vividly lifelike and violent video games that coach perfect muscle memory for quickly killing large numbers of people without a hint of remorse. Then someone — reportedly, his mother — teaches this unstable sociopath how to shoot guns and then leaves the guns so they somehow become available to him. And then, emerging from his isolation, he lashes out and kills at random 20 small children in retaliation for his own miserable life.
And these people around here want to talk about America’s “gun culture?” How about this culture of irresponsibility? How about this culture of isolation, this culture of technology and vivid violent role-playing over and over and over again? What about the culture of loneliness and divorce and despair? This culture of painless living?
No, they only talk about the “gun culture” because it sounds like a pat and easy answer to score some political points and raise a little campaign cash. Never mind that it is a craven insult to millions of good, responsible, God-fearing gun-owners across this country who would have gladly laid down their lives to save just one of those children. The line for that, literally, would be miles and miles long.
6) Finally, an appeal from the sister of the young priest from St. Rose of Lima parish who is tirelessly ministering to the families and community in grief, with no end in sight, even as we move through the busy Advent Season. Please consider acting on her heartfelt plea for her brother, Fr. Luke Suarez, ordained less than two years:
All of you, I am sure, have heard so much about the tragedy in Newtown, CT. Many of you have received emails from me about my younger brother, Father Luke Suarez, who is a priest at St. Rose of Lima parish, a Catholic church just down the road from Sandy Hook Elementary. He, and his pastor, Monsignor Weiss, arrived at the school within moments of the shooting, and have been caring for the community ever since. The picture I have included was taken at the school.
Father Luke has an impossible task before him. His diocese is without a bishop right now…. Monsignor … is personally devastated by the losses. The parish is very large…. The rectory has received serious threats, and as my brother gave the homily Sunday at the noon mass, the church had to be evacuated by SWAT teams. After experiencing identity theft and online hacking incidents, he had to erase all of his internet accounts. After a weekend of endless media requests, notifications and vigils with heartbroken families, and little sleep, he now has two wakes and two funerals every day, until the fourth Sunday of Advent. Father Luke has not even been ordained two years.
My large family has been trying to send Father Luke our love and support from afar, and one of my brothers was able to visit with him briefly a couple times. All he asks for is prayer.
I have been wracking my brain, trying to think of a way that our beautiful, loving community could tangibly reach out to Father Luke, Monsignor Weiss, and the St. Rose parish, to support them in this most awful of times. I have sent many prayer requests, and I am asking for more prayers again. But I also want to ask everyone to search their hearts, and if the Holy Spirit moves you, please consider sending one of your family’s Christmas cards to the rectory, with a few words of love and encouragement. Here is his address:
Father Luke Suarez
46 Church Hill Road
Newtown, CT 06470
My brother has said over and over again that without the prayer support he is receiving, he could not keep going. And this week is only the beginning. Everyone there is still in shock. Their peaceful home has been desecrated by violence. They will need to live with this sorrow forever.
But in our weakness is His strength. Grace abounds. Can you help me carry him through this time of trial?
On a hopeful note, Father Luke did say that no media coverage has even touched the deep, beautiful awakening of faith that has occurred there. Their tiny church, where my children have received sacraments and where Luke was ordained, has been full of people in prayer without ceasing since this tragedy happened. Love is stronger than death.
Please feel free to share the address with your family, friends, and community. An outpouring of love will sustain these good priests through their impossible ministry–impossible on their own, but possible with God.
I am so grateful to live in this community. We are all so blessed with one another. Every day, I see you all loving one another as Christ loved. Thank you for letting me reach out to you now.
With humble appreciation.
7) In memory of the children lost in CT, I have chosen to show you a seven-year-old child who still can be saved. Please consider rescuing a child such as Parker, whom I have profiled before. His delays are reportedly mild, and he so desperately needs a family:
|Click my photo for more information!|
Please also pray for Carla, who is missing her sweet Henry so dearly during this Advent Season.
Yes, this is a downer of a post, but this world, as we Catholics repeat in our prayers, is a vale of tears. The only Light in the darkness is Jesus Christ, and so now we take the final days of Advent to prayerfully await His coming. And we have hope.
Thanks to Jen, for hosting!