Living Faith

It is not enough to mourn


Boston is my home. I grew up coming “in town” to meander along the Freedom Trail or relax on the Common. In college I studied amid historic buildings and fell in love with the quirky, twisted lanes. When I moved to Wisconsin for a year I had serious brick withdrawal. My husband and I have set up our first home together in an old apartment building with high ceilings, no elevator, and clanking radiator heat. And though I somehow missed getting the accent, I’m a Bostonian.

Because of all of this, and because I am human, this latest in the list of recent senseless tragedies hurts more. It hurts me the way all meanness and evil and useless death should hurt, but it hurts more.

Some people react to the attack with anger. Even though my home has been attacked and I suppose I have a right to feel angry, that’s not how I feel. I feel immeasurably sad. I feel so sad for the hundreds who were hurt physically, for the 3 who were killed, for the hundreds more who have been hurt in ways that cannot be counted.

But I also feel so deeply sad for the people who planned this attack. What has happened to you? What brought you to this? I am so sorry. The darkness that has control over your heart brings me to tears. I want you to have healing. I want us all to have healing. We have failed you. We have failed each other.

Ryan Duns, a contributor to The Jesuit Post blog, wrote a post on the subject that expresses how I’ve been feeling the last couple of days:

I have no doubt that good is stronger than evil, that light will vanquish the darkness, yet it seems as though we, as a nation, spend more time in mourning, more time responding to tragedy than we do working constructively against it.

Our unity, as a people, seems possible only in grief rather than in a common goal; only in tragedy and sorrow than in achievement and celebration…

When will enough be enough? I don’t want to watch 24-hour coverage of a tragedy like this ever again. I want there to be prayer vigils against violence, instead of in the wake of it. I don’t want it to take another day like this to make our leaders work together across the aisle. There is something terribly broken in our world. We’re tearing apart at the seams. And though the events of Monday afternoon seem to be the problem, they’re a symptom of our own lack of humble service and love for one another on days when there is no tragedy.

We are none of us innocent. “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.” We are all guilty of the anger that grows into hatred and breeds violence. We all need healing. Please, in the wake of one of the many horrific days that bring into sharp focus the ends of evil, let us not forget to work for good every day. As the bombing at the Boston Marathon fades into the background in the coming weeks and months, I pray to remember that every sin is an act of violence that severs my relationship with a brother or sister thrusting us into darkness. I pray fervently that we all will instead choose those thoughts and acts of self-giving love that can bring light and healing to a world wounded by sin. It is not enough to mourn. Let us heal our world.

Lord Jesus, savior of the world, have mercy.


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