Daily Reflection
September 17th, 2001
Tom Shanahan, S.J.
University Relations and the Theology Department
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St. Robert Bellarmine, S.J.
First Timothy 2:1-8
Psalms 28:2, 7, 8-9
Luke 7:1-10

I am writing this on September 11, 2001, the day of the World Trade Center tragedy.  I have just been to noon mass that was just packed with students, faculty, staff, and friends.  I sat in our St. John's, the church in the center of our campus, and tears came to my eyes, two different kinds of tears.  The first were tears of sadness and confusion about the magnitude of two planes crashing into the twin towers of the World Trade Center and then the subsequent crashing of the buildings themselves falling below to the Manhattan streets.  What tragedy!  There’s no notion at this time of the numbers of people who were killed or maimed.  I can’t even imagine the toll of pain and hurt for the wounded and for the families of loved ones lost to a cruel and evil death.  I actually can’t wrap my mind around it; it is that confounding.

The other kind of tears were of the great joy in seeing the crowd at St. John's coming together for support and for some sign of hope in a hopelessness of the situation.  There they were – young and old – gathering to be together and to look to the Lord for comfort.  I found comfort in that alone.  The words of the prayers and the reading of scripture was also a comfort.  Fr. Bert Thelen, the main celebrant, and Fr. John Schlegel, our university President, helped with their excellent words to poke through the density of the darkness produced by such evil. 

I know in my heart that in the long run good prevails and not the kind of monstrous evil we experienced today; but for now that monstrous evil is the conundrum that will not be easily cracked.  My faith tells me that there is resurrection after death and that a faithful God will see us through this tragedy.

I am left with mute prayers for those who died so unexpectedly today, for those who received cruel wounds, and for those close to them who suffer along with them because of the evil inflicted on them so brutally.

Lord, God, I find my faith tested today.  Help me to pray for those that were so monstrously afflicted today and help me to come to grips with the horror of today.  I need you as savior today.

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