Last night, just before signing off, my friend Kim Luisi, who is a New Yorker, wrote: "I really have no desire to relive the scariest day of my life. It's been 10 years and I will pray, but I will not watch any footage. I remember well enough." I think this is the case with almost everyone old enough to remember that terrible day.
So, today, on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, I really think something like the Lux aeterna from Rutter's Requiem is all we need. Well, that along with readings for Mass on this Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, which remind us/tell us what it means to follow Christ even in the most difficult and painful circumstances.
Wrath and anger, these also are abominations, yet a sinner holds on to them. The vengeful will face the Lord’s vengeance; indeed he remembers their sins in detail. Forgive your neighbor the wrong done to you; then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven (Sirach 27:30-28:2)"Peter approached Jesus and asked him, 'Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?' Jesus answered, 'I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times'" (Matt. 18:21-22).
Frankly, I am suffering from 9/11 fatigue this morning. It's not an indictment of anyone, let alone a condemnation. But in true U.S.- style, it seems to me we have succeeded in turning reverence into irreverence by sentimental over-reverence. Jesus corrects us by levelling our gaze and putting our attention on what's right in front of us, or inside of us, weighing heavy on our hearts.
I am very grateful and appreciate very much that President Obama read Psalm 46 at yesterday's 9/11 Memorial in New York, which begins: "God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress. Thus we do not fear, though earth be shaken and mountains quake to the depths of the sea..."
On this note, it bears pointing out that to forgive, to really forgive, implies not forgetting. This is at least part of what Bl. John Paul II explained when he posited the "purification of memory" with regards to the National Socialist mass murder of Jews and others. In his encyclical letter, Spe Salvi, Benedict XVI observes, in response to Dostoevsky's protest, articulated in The Brothers Karamazov, that according to some Christian accounts grace cancels justices, turns wrong into right, noted that this is not so. Grace, he states unequivocally, "is not a sponge which wipes everything away, so that whatever someone has done on earth ends up being of equal value." In the end, "evildoers... do not sit at table at the eternal banquet beside their victims without distinction, as though nothing had happened" (par. 44).
I owe a deep diaconal bow to my friend Alex, who posted the Lux Aeterna from Rutter's Requiem this morning. Alex's calm quiet demeanor is always a comfort to me.