Saturday, December 15, 2012
In our prayers. . .
As we approach Christmas, we are reminded of the Holy Innocents and of the pain born by the families of those whose blood was first spilled at the Messiah's coming. God knows this pain and Christ was born for those families whose hearts are broken, who face a future without a child's laughter and wonder to encourage their love, and who live with pain of this loss for the rest of their lives. There are no easy words to say and no easy answers for the manifold "why me... why them" that now arise to the heavens. In the midst of things we cannot understand, let us continue to believe in the communion of saints, the resurrection of the dead, and the life everlasting through our Lord Jesus Christ. His pain for us is the only hope of peace for our pain for those whose lives were taken yesterday.
Lord, make us to know the measure of our days here on earth, what they are and how frail we are, that we may reflect upon the uncertainty of life and all things earthly. Let the solemn providence of mortality in our family deeply impress upon us our need for You, the only source of life and comfort. Teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom. May we humble ourselves and cast all our cares upon You, for You care for us. And as a father pities and comforts his children on earth, so give us the comfort of Your mercy and grace. And may we remember that life at the longest is too short and life at its briefest is not without the worth and value Your Son’s death and resurrection have bestowed. Lord, Jesus received our spirits and may we be forever with the Lord. Amen
As an aside...
I might add one pastoral dimension to this story. For a long time now we have debated the physical health portion of the health care system in America. As broken as many feel this is, the situation for the care of those with mental and emotional illness makes the physical side of the health care system look positively healthy. As one who has spent hours with families dealing with children and adults in need of care and without either the insurance or ability to pay, I know first hand how deeply we are failing those with emotional and mental illness. Psychiatry has become a prescription industry. Psychologists are overworked and left merely to provide band aids to those wounded and broken. We are at a serious point in which the issue of how we deal with those among us wounded in spirit and mind will continue to create tragedy. I am not applying blame as much as calling for more effort, more people resources, and more dollars so that the broken in heart and mind have a chance for some healing and the rest of us can live without fear of who is behind the faces all around us. I say this not to excuse the wrong that was done or to minimize at all the tragic and senseless wounds these families of Sandy Hook now bear. No, not at all. I merely am trying to direct some of our passion for a real answer to the real potential for violence that remains around us when those with serious emotional and mental illness go without treatment....
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Not only is more effort needed on the part of mental health providers and the system that supports it. Families, friends, parishes all need to address this issue on two fronts: We must cease treating those with mental issues as pariahs. We need to be concerned with teaching. If we fail to speak Truth and the Gospel to each other, these types of horrors will be in our midst.
No easy solutions, only hard work at our vocations.
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