'Let my eyes stream with tears, day and night without rest, over the great destruction which overwhelms the virgin daughter of my people, over her incurable wounds. If I walk out in the field, look! Those slain by the sword. If I enter the city, look! those consumed by hunger...why have you struck us a blow which cannot be healed? We wait for peace, to no avail. For a time of healing, but terror comes instead.' (Jeremiah 14: 17-19)
'When will it stop' is the question I ponder every morning as my phone pings with news notifications. At least 80 dead in a truck attack in Nice. 3 injured in a machete attack in Germany. A priest martyred in France. An unceasing, untiring parade of human anguish, sorrow and fear.
So we post inspirational quotes on our social media profiles, possibly send funds to the relief efforts, exchange sentiments over the coffee pot in our office. Then we go home for the night, sigh, tuck littles into bed and bunker down for the newest tragedy tomorrow.
We have a wound that won't heal. We pray for peace but are greeted instead by the news of terror. For the glory of your name, Lord, deliver us.
No time before now has evil been so accessible, acceptable and available. Pornography is a click away on the internet, abortions are protected by the law and on demand, and marriage is now defined by legality and not morality. The reaction that I had to a recent shooting was 'Only 20 dead?'...life is a commodity and we fail to see the human lives that are slipping away from this earth due to human sin and despair. The side-effects of our throw away culture.
The pain is on a cosmic level ...each action that one human being does ripples and touches the lives of others. The story of the grandmother who was embraced by the airplane passengers when she found out about the death of her grandson. The first responders who pull up to the carnage of the latest mass killing and have to try to push the gory images aside as they return home to their families that night.
Day after day we are bombarded with evidence that the world is heart-wrenchingly broken. Mothers murder their children, airports are riddled with bullets, human beings are objectified, priests beheaded, and our Lord in the Eucharist dishonored.
What better time to become a saint?
There is our alternative to despair....the realization that our desire for sainthood can very well be fulfilled at a much quicker rate than expected. Each death toll is a string of notes, compiling in a unending 'Dies Irae' reminder that this life is temporary and the next is eternal.
Before You, humbled, Lord, I lie, my heart like ashes, crushed and dry, assist me when I die. Full of tears and full of dread is that day that wakes the dead, calling all, with solemn blast to be judged for all their past. Lord, have mercy, Jesus blest, grant them all Your Light and Rest. Amen.
Each headline that comes across our Facebook feed or phone notifications reminds us of one thing: we are offered opportunities that saints who have gone before us have never had. Evil has never been so accessible. Neither has sanctity.
This modern day culture is a saint making machine. Look at all of the evil that there is to stand up against. Beautifully, thankfully, there is more grace and mercy in God than there is sin in humanity.
Tertullian once said 'The blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church.' Are you ready to be saints together?