Paris Attacks: Grief and Heartbreak Around the World

Posted by Fr. Tere on 11/15/2015

November 15, 2015      1 Samuel 1:4-20; Psalm 16; Hebrews 10:11-25; Mark 13:1-8

Paris Attacks: Grief and Heartbreak Around the World

Look! He is coming with the clouds and every eye will see him… So shall it be! Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:7-8)

man weepingWe end another of too many weeks in shock at the absolute horror that abounds in this world. I certainly can understand those who proclaim that there is either no God or that he is so incredibly cruel and uncaring that they want nothing to do with him/her/it.

The people of the world, literally, have no possible framework that allows them to under-stand what is happening. When you have a worldview that only allows for the advancement of humanity, of the universe, always into a better state, how do you understand complete depravity? It’s even more complicated when that same world seems to have decided that Islam is immune from criticism and must be protected because it is the “religion of peace.” I understand how they don’t understand, but that is not our view.

bodies and first responders in Paris

We know there is evil, incredible evil in the world – that is being realistic. We know God does not cause it, nor does he allow it, except to give us free will. We know mourning; we know weeping; we can know despair. But we know “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” While seeing clearly that the world is not getting any better, we rejoice that it is ultimately ruled by the one who is “the Alpha and the Omega,” the beginning and the end. Because he has always been and always will be, those of us in the middle know we are help in arms that stretch both ways into eternity. As we say in the Eucharist as the “mystery of faith,” Christ has died, Christ is risen, and Christ will come again. Those are truly comforting words.

Rejoice! Rejoice! In the midst of the unbelievable cruelty that has just been perpetrated in the name of ISIS, who is now promising that action to be “the first of the storm,” we rejoice. In the midst of life, we rejoice. In the midst of sorrow, we rejoice. In the midst of illness, we rejoice. In the midst of death, we rejoice. With Job we proclaim, “…I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.” (Job 19:25-26) With John, we have “heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Blessed indeed,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!’” (Revelation 14:13)

Yes, I am heartbroken and raise the French in prayer. Yes, I am angry and want to condemn ISIS to hell. Yes, I want to despair and give up, but…

first responders in paris

But I know Jesus Christ died for my sins. I know he was raised from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of the Father, from where he intercedes for me and my sins (and for the sins of the world). I know that “now [I] see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”   (1 Corinthians 13:12-13)

Now I cannot see – but then I know I will. That makes yesterday, and D’s cancer, and J’s liver, and E’s (and C’s & N’s & J’s & _’s!) back, and our other problems, times of prayer and rejoicing, not times of despair.

Pray – pray – pray for the unity and orthodoxy of the Church. Without that Islam advances – without that ISIS can plan with impunity – without that sin reigns.        Fr. Tere

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