Today’s Thoughts: I have two sections to my thoughts today. First, I would like to reflect on this day and secondly, I would like to reflect on our Gospel for this day…
Remembering the 19th Anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001
“There is nothing that can replace the absence of someone dear to us, and one should not even attempt to do so. One must simply hold out and endure it. At first that sounds very hard, but at the same time it is also a great comfort. For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled one remains connected to the other person through it. It is wrong to say that God fills the emptiness. God in no way fills it but much more leaves it precisely unfilled and thus helps us preserve -- even in pain -- the authentic relationship. Furthermore, the more beautiful and fuller the remembrances, the more difficult the separation. But gratitude transforms the torment of memory into silent joy. One bears what was lovely in the past not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within, a hidden treasure of which one can always be certain.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
As Dietrich Bonhoeffer says above there is nothing that can be said or done that replaces the loss of someone dear to us. But hopefully Bonhoeffer’s words can help to give comfort to all who lost loved ones nineteen years ago in Lower Manhattan, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania.
Perhaps, Bonhoeffer’s words can help all of us deal with what we as a city, a country and a world lost thirteen years ago. May his words give us pause to be grateful for the silent joy that all who gave their lives continue to give us. May those who lost their lives continue to be a hidden treasure for all of us, a treasure that we can always count on.
“In normal life we hardly realize how much more we receive than we give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude. It is so easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements compared with what we owe to the help of others.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
To the people who gave their lives, to the families who gave their loved ones, to those who continue to give their lives because of the aftereffects of this day even these many years later, to all of you I say thank you!
Turning to our Gospel today… “No one can grow if he [or she] does not accept his [or her] smallness.” (Pope Francis) With this thought Pope Francis seems to get at the heart of what Jesus is saying in the Gospel today. If we do not deal with our own faults and failings, if we cannot see our own humanness how are we ever going to be able to grow into the person God has created us to be and help others.
We cannot just look at other people’s faults and failings we need to start with our own. If we do, we will have a better, more compassionate understanding and view of the world. We will truly be able to help not hurt others. The starting point for looking at and dealing with the problems, struggles and sinfulness of the world is always ourselves. When we can proclaim our faults, failings and our need for help, our need for forgiveness we are on our way to being able to help and forgive others.
St. Augustine perhaps put the focus of our Gospel today a little differently when he said, “God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands are too full to receive them.” So, let us put down what fills up our hands in this world, anger, resentment, the faults and failings of others and receive the grace that God offers us and live in the joy and love of God today!
Have a solemn, holy, blessed, safe, and healthy Friday everyone.
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...