April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech

It's sad and frightening for me to think of how the school shooting is becoming part of our culture. Charles Whitman invented this crime, Columbine brought it to a new level of meaninglessness, and now at Virginia Tech we have the worst civilian massacre in the history of these United States.

We must pray for the eternal rest of the victims, including the perpetrator(s), and for the consolation of their families. We must be a support for families and parents who send their children to school each day in the midst of this culture of death.

But if we want to be faithful to the memory of these victims, we must allow this to shock us into a critique of our culture. We must find the compunction that admits that such a massacre is not really shocking in a world where life is so cheap in many other ways.

Old people can get expensive health care but poor children can't, revealing that we care more about money than life. The ongoing normalization of pornography reveals our view that human persons are commodities for consumerized sexuality. Abortion and capital punishment reveal that we understand human life as a relative value against convenience and revenge. Wars are fought amidst tremendous civilian abuse and suffering and loss of life and culture for the benefit of businessmen.

If this is our world, it's hardly surprising that shooting one's peers becomes a mode of self-expression.

We need a revolution in order to change this, and you won't hear about it on CNN. We must change ourselves. As Gil Scott-Heron put it, "the first revolution is when you change your mind, about how you look at things."

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was walking to my office this morning thinking about this tragedy and all of our failed attempts to understand it.

Then I noticed a tree. It is raining in Denver this morning and the rain had knocked down a lot of the blossoms from the tree so that the ground shared the pink color of the tree. For a moment I thought about how wasteful it is that the beautiful things produced by this tree now covered the sidewalk and were being trod underfoot. But then I realized that Our Lord is like that. Beauty flows out in a never ending stream from His Tree and covers the earth, and so much of it is trod underfoot. But the super-abundance of God diffuses itself into eternity without ceasing, even when we step on it.

I learned something about Easter this morning that I didn't know before. I realized that Our Lord has made the victims of this terrible crime whole in His Heart, even if we do not see it. The voices of the violent and the haters of Chirst will never have victory. Even if the greatest of persecutions should come, we will still have the trees to preach the Gospel to us.

Charles of New Haven said...

A beautiful Easter reflection, Anonymous. Thank you!

forget me not said...

Amen, that was a very thought provoking post, and I agree, anonymous' reflection is wonderful and so comforting. There's a discussion going on at my place about this too. I'm going to post a link to this, Brother Charles.

Anonymous said...

Just as Fr. Roger Landry posted after the clergy abuse scandals broke, the first and best response to make to all these things is to increase our personal holiness.