What Answer Will You Be?

C. S. Lewis — The Problem of Pain

God is both further from us, and nearer to us than any other being… The intimacy between God and even the meanest creature is closer than any that creatures can attain with one another.

Thomas Merton – New Seeds of Contemplation

Contemplation is also the response to a call: a call from Him Who has no voice, and yet Who speaks in everything that is, and Who, most of all, speaks in the depths of our own being: for we ourselves are words of His … It is as if in creating us God asked a question, and in awakening us to contemplation He answered the question, so that the contemplative is the at the same time, question and answer.

Chris Seidman & Joshua Graves – Heaven ON Earth

When Jesus addresses mourning he’s describing something beyond weeping. the word normally translated into mourning is penthountes. It is more properly understood as being deeply saddened and grieved to the point of action. Mourning refers to a deep sadness that’s rooted in profound loss. The kind of loss that can’t ever be fixed. Crying is almost always part of the mourning process but mourning isn’t simply crying… Mourning isn’t simply “sad” or “depressed” — though those are real human emotions we need to pay attention to. Mourning rather means moved deeply in one’s gut to see the world, through your tears, in a new way, longing for things to be different. Mourning is a pure vision of the large gulf between how things  could be versus how things actually are. Mourning also means being moved in such a way that you intend to do something about it.

Blessed are those who are deeply saddened to the point of action, for they will be comforted.

President Barack Obama – Vigil at Newtown, CT.

This is our first task — caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.

And by that measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that we are meeting our obligations? Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children — all of them — safe from harm? Can we claim, as a nation, that we’re all together there, letting them know that they are loved, and teaching them to love in return? Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?

I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is no. We’re not doing enough. And we will have to change.

Since I’ve been President, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by a mass shooting. The fourth time we’ve hugged survivors. The fourth time we’ve consoled the families of victims. And in between, there have been an endless series of deadly shootings across the country, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children, in small towns and big cities all across America — victims whose — much of the time, their only fault was being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change. We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law — no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society.

But that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely, we can do better than this. If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that — then surely we have an obligation to try.

So how will you mourn the loss of all those precious lives?

It is not enough to shed tears for those lost souls and their families.

Our tears aren’t enough.

Not nearly enough.

We must mourn.

Truly mourn.

And such mourning requires that we work toward a living out of Heaven in the here and now.

When we choose good, we are answering Right Here, Right Here, Right Here to a world shouting; Where was God?

What steps will you take to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this defining moment as a nation, as a people of faith?

What answer will you be to a grieving world?

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