Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Never forgetting means always remembering

Today we mark the sad anniversary of the dropping of the second atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Nagasaki. The anniversary of the dropping of the first bomb on the city of Hiroshima was yesterday. Let us never forget! Also, let us not forget, as the teacher and the psalmist reminded us Sunday, our life here is transitory. We are limited, contingent beings.

Apropos of a day of remembrance, Into Dust.

In my other post today (linked to above- click on the word "forget") I wrote:
" One thing families do, albeit with far less frequency than they used to, out of love, is remember. We are in danger of forgetting. One sign of this is that on Memorial Day, instead of visiting the graves of our beloved dead, we recreate, we go on trips, we go to the movies, etc. In other words, we seek distractions instead of dealing with reality. Forgetting has consequences." Just to give an example in order to demonstrate that I am not writing about some lofty, abstract concept with no bearing on life, I have an uncle Lamar. He was a decorated World War II veteran who fought bravely in the Pacific theater. He was my Dad's oldest half-brother. He was badly wounded in the war, having lost two fingers of his right hand. More than the physical wounds and the resulting disabilities, he was spiritually and psychologically devastated by what he experienced as a young soldier. He died an alcoholic before I was born. If not for my grandma, who was Lamar's step-mother, my Dad and his sisters and brothers telling us about Lamar, who never married and, hence, died childless, who would remember him?

We must also remember, especially in light of the grave subject-matter of this post, that mature Christian faith is hopeful. Hence, we should not leave this subject desparing. I draw attention to something Gregory Glenn wrote yesterday for the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord: "this altogether reliable prophetic message of Jesus Christ still rings true: that we are created for love, and we are most like our Creator when we are engaged in love that pours itself out, in our homes, schools and places of work" (Awaiting the Morning Star).

In a homily, given during a Mass concelebrated with Swiss bishops last November, our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, concluded his homily by highlighting the fact that problems "cannot be resolved if God is not placed at the center, if God does not become visible in the world once more, if He does not become a determining force in our lives, and if He does not, through us, decisively enter the world. It is my belief that the destiny of the world today, in its current dramatic situation, depends upon this: whether God - the God of Jesus Christ - exists and is recognized as such, or whether He disappears. Our concern is that He should remain present." Put simply, it is up to us, His Body, to make him present.

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