Consecrated to the Heart of the Redeemer under the patronage of the Theotokos and Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

21 July 2012

Mors et Vita Duello Conflixere Mirando*

We cannot help but note the tragedy that has beset our land: the Friday morning shooting near Denver that claimed the lives of a dozen and wounded over 50 more.  How disturbing it is that cold, calculated violence continues to percolate in people’s hearts, until something like this happens.  We beg our Savior’s infinite compassion upon all parties, especially the victims and their families.

Perhaps you have heard about another death that took place on Friday morning.  Near Indianapolis, a driver accidentally struck a college student by the name of Andrew Moore.  Andrew was participating in a cross-country pro-life demonstration, and was also spending that time to discern whether God might be calling him to be a priest. We likewise ask the Lord of life to console and strengthen Andrew’s survivors.

Understandably we may bristle at the thought that either of these events could be used for political purposes.  Perhaps there’s a hint of opportunism behind my current interest.  I ask God to purify me of unworthy motives so that my postings can nourish His holy people with the Word of Life and Love.  This is one of those moments where, if I were to remain silent, the very keys of my computer would cry out.

The Father of mercies continues to love this world beset with sin and its dreadful consequences.  Once and for all He spoke His Word of Truth and Love, His incarnate Son.  Saint Paul reminded the Ephesians that Jesus has broken down the walls that have kept people unaware of and at odds with each other, roadblocks to human dignity.  Through His passion and death, Christ has already cleared the Way; yet all of us, to varying degrees and in various situations, haven’t gotten the Message.  And so we wander around, from expert to expert, from website to website, convincing ourselves that nothing is wrong while frantically searching for the solution to our every ill.

Yes, “not all who wander are lost,” but the God of all consolation has appointed a Shepherd to channel our wayward desires and instincts for His glory and our neighbor’s good.  He has established a Church that directs people to infinite Truth, Goodness, and Love.  Christ's peaceful Gift-of-Self remains the answer to all violence, whether it is unleashed in city streets or cozy suburbs, movie theatres or abortion clinics.  Perhaps the most prevalent aggression occurs in the mind that resists instruction in truth and the will that resists discipline for goodness.  No wonder the Good Shepherd’s first response to the crowd was to teach them many things.  It seems that we can be taught only when we’re at our weakest and hungriest.

Where does this formation happen?  Traditionally we have pointed to our churches as formation locales, but the Internet has become a most effective supplement.  I am a student in this formation program as much as the patient reader.  I think of our parish of Holy Guardian Angels: although we are in a key location on a major thoroughfare, close to several arterial highways in the County of Berks,  nonetheless we are a “deserted place.”  Our parish is an optimal place for disciples to gather: neither for entertainment nor for protest, but for wisdom and power and generosity.

*"Death and Life have clashed in a miraculous duel"; from the sequence Victimae Paschali Laudes

Acknowledgments to blogger Omar Gutierrez of for unwittingly providing the lead on this reflection.  He cites The Star Press of Indiana for local coverage of Mr. Moore's death.

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