Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Not a good day

Today I had to bury a child. A baby; a baby that should not have died. I managed to make it through 12 years of being a priest without a child's funeral, but this is the second in the last year. I know that the child is in the hands of God, but it still rips my heart out to think of a dead child. Before I entered the seminary, I worked at a cemetery in Salt Lake for a summer. This was my favorite summer job. (My least favorite was shoveling out dog kennels.) Once, during that summer we had to dig a grave for a baby. It was the only time I had any trouble with the job. The tiny coffin really got to me. It got to me today too. Please say a prayer for the family.

The only other thing that has come close was also a funeral. This one was for a single mother who was stabbed to death in front of her children. We know in faith how to respond, but the fleshly part of our existence has trouble going along. I wouldn't say that it is doubt, but rather the sorrow of the whole thing.

I imagine many people are feeling and thinking similar things today in relation to the murders in Virginia. Speaking abstractly about evil is one thing, being confronted with its reality is another. We need to see and help others to see these things for what they truly are; evil. It is tempting to try to explain them away, minimize them, to make excuses, or find scapegoats, but this won't make them go away. They are evil. The only thing that makes existence in the face of such thing bearable is the fact that evil will not ultimately triumph. Christ is risen.
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