On 9/11…

Large flag hangs from the bell tower of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Wash DC today.  (photo cred: Catholic News Service)

Large flag hangs from the bell tower of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Wash DC today. (photo cred: Catholic News Service)

“I just rode up those elevators to the top with Mom to celebrate her 50th birthday,” I said to a roomful of no one listening.  They were all glued to the TV, like me, aghast.  We were suddenly and radically changed individually and as a nation that day 13 years ago.

“I’m leaving to pick up my boys, and I am going to spend the rest of the day hugging them,” I declared to no one in particular.  Then, I got up and left the office.  No one objected.  My room full of office mates were stunned and frozen in place, barely glancing up.

They are 3 and 1, I thought, driving back to the daycare center.  Into what kind of world have I brought them…?

Where were YOU that morning?  Every American over the age of about 20 can answer this.

Today is a day to memorialize, remember, and above all PRAY.

At Guerin Catholic High School today where my older boys attend school, an all school mass was held.  Fr. Joshua Janko paid tribute to those lost on Sept. 11, 2001 and he challenged us to listen to the words of the Gospel.  He powerfully acknowledged how difficult the words of Jesus seem to be on this day.

“Jesus said to his disciples:  To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you…” (Lk 6:27-28)

How can we possibly love those who desire to harm us?  I’ve got to be honest, it’s 13 years later and I’m not sure.  I do know everything is possible with God.  Our prayer releases the power within us to be the hands and face of Christ, to do good, if you will, in the face of evil.  It’s not about them, it’s about you and me and our God– who IS love itself.

God loves without limits.  He is all good.  I’m honestly not sure how to rectify this when in the presence of that which is truly evil.  So, the Lord calls me to trust.  Good gracious that can be hard some days.

“Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Mt. 11:28)

I give THANKS today for:

Police Officers and Fire Fighters, whose daily sacrifices I didn’t even begin to notice prior to 9/11/01.  You are heroes where you live, and I am proud of you and grateful for your service.

Our US Armed Forces, to each soldier past and present, I thank you for what you have done to protect the collective freedoms of all of us who call the United States of America our own.

My faith, the most beautiful gift from God, and without which I would be lost.  Thank you, Lord, for the grace of strong faith!

Today, I admit I am struggling with the challenge offered by Jesus and echoed by Fr. Janko.  I don’t want to pray for terrorists.

Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.

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