On this day we remember all those who lost their lives, and those families who lost loved ones. I recall that Tuesday morning as if it were yesterday. How can we cope? How can we make sense of such a senseless act?
I often write about the need for us to change our perspective, so I found this quote by Henri Nouwen, a renown spiritual author, to be quite enlightening:
“Many people live with the unconscious or conscious expectation that eventually things will get better; wars, hunger, poverty, oppression, and exploitation will vanish; and all people will live in harmony. Their lives and work are motivated by that expectation. When this does not happen in their lifetimes, they are often disillusioned and experience themselves as failures. But Jesus doesn’t support such an optimistic outlook. He foresees not only the destruction of his beloved city Jerusalem but also a world full of cruelty, violence, and conflict. For Jesus there is no happy ending in this world. The challenge of Jesus is not to solve all the world’s problems before the end of time but to remain faithful at any cost.”
This is not to say that we give up; but rather that we re-frame our expectations toward realistic goals such as peace within ourselves, our families, our communities. We are asked to accept and trust in God. A trust not always easy to come by in light of the realities of the suffering in our world. How can I trust in God through all that is happening around me?
In a book entitled “Franciscan Voices on 9/11“, one of the contributors writes:
“In the scriptures, God does not say, ‘Do not fear, I will take away all the pain and struggle.’ Rather, we hear, ‘You have no need to fear, since I am with you’ and together we will make it.”
These quotes give me hope and encouragement. The wisdom of the writers guide me to action. Not to sit still in fear or sadness, but to take action and make a difference. In our families and local community, what can I do to bring peace?
“Therefore I begin to think, my Lord, you purposely allow us to be brought into contact with the bad and evil things that You want changed. Perhaps that is the very reason why we are here in this world, where sin and sorrow and suffering and evil abound, so that we may let You teach us so to react to them, that out of them we can create lovely qualities to live forever. That is really the only satisfactory way of dealing with evil. Not simply binding it so that it cannot work harm, but whenever possible overcoming it with good.”