Tuesday, February 20, 2018

An American Tragedy

News of the school shooting in Florida was sickening. This type of tragedy is typically American and people are quick to blame the gun. Yes, but there's a person behind that gun. And that is whom we have to address. A few years ago, at the thrift-store I picked up We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. The moment I began to read the first pages, I knew I was in the hands of a master storyteller. The premise was good--nature vs. nurture, a mother's sorrow of the crime her own flesh committed. Layers upon layers. And the end is devastating--it is even more horrifying than what I knew at the beginning of the book. It is a descent into hell getting to know Kevin. He is probably the smartest person in the whole book, but he's evil. A psychopath. I think perhaps we all should read this book if we want to understand how these killers are made in our society. 

Our pastor gave some good thoughts on the first Sunday of Lent. We heard the powerful account of how Jesus was tempted in the desert before He began His public ministry. We need to repent, re-form ourselves into Christ, start over--give up sinning, bad habits, bad attitudes. Believe in the Gospel. Father spoke about how each and every one of us has to change, so that the change can come about in our communities and our nation. First, we have to reform how we care for the mentally ill. Many are in prison; many are homeless. Second, our attitude towards guns. How is it that an 18-yr-old can buy a military-grade weapon? Third, our media glorifies violence. Fourth, the family is being destroyed; many children do not have a stable home environment. Fifth, we live in a culture of death. We have lost respect for life. He said something very interesting: Evil is always crazy. It's the absurdity of sin--we choose to sin even though we know it won't make us happy. So change begins with each and every one of us.

Archbishop Chaput said it best at the end of his short statement: “This is Lent. As a people, we have a lot to repent and confess. And let’s not lie to ourselves that tighter gun restrictions — as vital and urgent as they now are — will solve the problem. We’ve lost our respect for human life on a much broader scale, and this is the utterly predictable result.”

I'm praying for all of us to have a blessed and fruitful Lent. Saint Francisco and Saint Jacinta, pray for our children and pray for us!


Johnell DeWitt said...

It's a tough time for sure. Hearts are failing.

Mirka Breen said...

I am not great at remembering quotations, but one that stayed with me (though I can't remember who said it) is that the wrong turn the modern age took is stopping to recognize evil. "This is the age of psychology, not longer recognizing evil."

Of course, this may seem a benign point even to those who know evil is real. But it isn't in that when we no longer call Evil by its name we probably no longer know Good.

Vijaya said...

Johnell, we cannot, must not lose hope. This month I've been re-reading St. Alphonsus' thoughts on hope and they strengthen me (12 Steps to Holiness book).

Mirka, this is so true. Ap. Fulton Sheen talked about this so eloquently. And you're right that when we've lost all sense of sin, we do not recognize Good. But I know this, we can turn it around with God's grace.

The devil is loose in this world.

Sue said...

Well said!