Violent events sear us with fear, but such events can also awaken us. As I watched the news coverage of the shootings in Las Vegas, I noticed that I felt again the reality of death, and pondered the miracle of life. Perhaps you did too.
As we grieve, I observe how many reach out for connection and conversation with one another, despite what might have previously divided. Notice how death can awaken us to live differently together, now.
Violence also reminds us of our common human vulnerability. I was encouraged when I read that Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad, described the unexpected death of her father with these moving words:
“Destiny injured me with a bereavement so sorrowful, and so dark, that if it had fallen on the daylight days, they would have been turned into eternal nights.”
Such is the wovenness of human love and life. Death is always a shadow that sears our days into nights. All the more when death is sudden and violent; the kind of violent senselessness that cracks our sanity open under its weight. But this cracking tends to help the prayers flow.
While we may be tempted to think we’ll never be safe again, we can each resolve to live more awake than before. More awake to love. Cherishing each moment we are given. Forgiving more quickly. Letting go of resentment. Releasing our fears and anger. Loving more authentically. Working against all forms of violent expression within or without. Remembering God and one another, always. Remembering the sorrow of our Lady, the suffering of our Lord, and all the saints – a living Wisdom that continues to wish and work for our ongoing evolution and development as a species, from violence into the victory of consciously chosen love.
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