Friday, September 11, 2015

Remembering, praying, helping

At breakfast this morning, we talked to the kids about what happened 14 years ago today. I'm not sure why I felt this year was appropriate but I was surprised at how interested they were. Interested and unbelieving. I read from a book about the attack on the World Trade Center, I talked about that day in my life (I was packing to move to Philly and their father, not yet my husband, was in Chicago on a trip...watching the Sears Tower out a window and wondering what would happen next). It didn't seem to sink in, though, until I showed them this.

It is difficult to process, even for me, but they understood. Then came the "why do people hate us?" questions. I can't answer that sufficiently so we talked a bit and then moved on to the larger discussion of God in our life and His protection even on the worst day you can imagine. We also talked about some of the people who died that day, not just because they were doing their job and ended up in a bad situation, but because their job requires them to risk their lives every day...including days of national tragedy. The police and firemen, even a Franciscan priest.

We headed out to Mass a little bit later, to join some home school friends. It was nice sharing the time surrounded by other families. I think when it's been so long, a lot of the world has forgotten about 9/11 and the lessons we learned. I'm thankful we are keeping it in memory so that we can pray for those lost, the families, and the world.

We also prayed a rosary beside the tomb of the unborn child. I'm waiting (it didn't happen today) for the kids to put those two things together. The sad day of September 11 when we lost nearly 3,000 souls and the last 40+ years when we've lost millions. I don't push it because there is more uncertainty and confusion surrounding those who abort than the pure evil hatred of the extremists. Still, there is a large dose of dehumanization all around.

As a society, not just those who are involved in abortions, we have lost sight of the face of Christ in our neighbor. Try reading the latest from my dear alma mater  Did the people who flew the planes have a moniker (like "carrier") for the people they intended to kill? Did they make fun of the Americans and how wrong they were (or how "just being excited to board a plane"). I'm not beyond this by any means. When I am not actively working to help, pray for, or otherwise love others, I am so easily lured into the easy condemnation that swirls through our world.

After our prayers, we made our becoming-a-monthly-routine to Washington City Mission (sometimes St. Vincent De Paul) to drop off toys and clothes that we no longer need. The shop sells the goods and the money goes to help people who need assistance. It is so important that our kids see this. They have to realize that the whole world is not as blessed as they and, rather than pitying or looking down on those who aren't equally blessed, they need to use some of their good to help make a difference. I pray that our frequent trips and discussions will make some crack in their conscience that, even if it's not used now, will return when they are more able to use the information.

The world is confusing a lot of the time. The self is even more difficult. By turning away from self, we can often find something that is needed in the world and by helping to fill that need, we can make some small difference. Most days I feel like I am completely rudderless except for the works of mercy. We will start there, try to make our witness quiet but visible, and pray we might inspire others to do the same. The Year of Mercy in the Catholic church begins in a few months...why don't you pick a few and try it out in your house?

We are blessed.

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