Sometimes I find it so difficult to face the news of the day. I know that there are so many good people in the world today that are doing so many good things, but then we are confronted with some people who just seem to be totally influenced by pure evil. The recent attack in Dallas, Texas has caused me to write this post. Five Police Officers were killed and six more wounded while they were trying to keep peace at a protest against police violence. Police Officers have one of the toughest jobs in the world and the vast majority of them do an absolutely fantastic job. I was really struck by the fact that when the gunfire began at the Dallas rally, Police Officers began shielding, with their own lives, the people that were protesting against them. That is just an example of how the Police Officer operates. He or she is trained to Protect and Serve. In response they are often treated very poorly.
I think that this is just a small portion of the problem we have today. People seem to think that acts of violence are a way of achieving certain goals. We then throw in to that racial bias and you can see how messed up we really are. We have groups like Black Lives Matter who say that Police unfairly attack blacks. Now, there may be some occasions when this happens, but that is rare. In 2015 Police Officers had to take the lives of 494 white people and 258 black people. That hardly seems racist. It is absolutely terrible that any lives had to be taken, white or black. But, violence is a large part of our society. There are some people who believe that making gun ownership illegal would solve that, but as a former law enforcement officer myself, I can tell you that people will get the guns whether they are legal or not. There are plenty of statistics to show that certain cities that have outlawed guns still have a high rate of people being shot. We really need to go down much further in to the problem to try to stem violence.
Violence seems so present in our society. I used to work in the Family Court and I could not believe what some husbands and wives did to each other. Even young children seemed to act out in fits of violence. It is hard to find a movie or tv show that doesn’t have a great deal of violence in it. I look at the video games out there, and they are filled with violence. This isn’t something new. Even when I was growing up the cartoons had a lot of violence. We seem to be a people that are fascinated with violence. Along with that, there seems to be a shrinking respect for LIFE in all of its forms. Here in the United States over one million mothers take the lives of their children through abortion each year. Soon to be St. Theresa of Calcutta said, “We must not be surprised when we hear of murders, of killings, of wars, of hatred. If a mother can kill her own child, what is left but for us to kill each other?” Euthanasia seems to be growing too. We can’t be a people that JUST say, Black Lives Matter; we need to be a people that say, EVERY LIFE MATTERS.
So, as Catholics growing in our faith, how do we deal with this? First of all, PRAYER is very powerful. I was so moved at mass today when our Pastor dedicated the whole mass (including selecting special Eucharistic Prayers) to ending violence and establishing PEACE. We must make it our constant prayer to ask for peace. We also must change our lives to turn away from violence. Instead of watching those extremely violent movies and TV shows, turn towards ones that offer less violence. In our every day actions, we need to try to be more peaceful. When that car driver cuts you off, don’t swear or raise a finger at him, pray for him. We need to tone down yelling in our relationships within our family. We must try to do things that lead toward peace. Let us recall the words of Pope Francis, “May the God of peace arouse in all an authentic desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence cannot be overcome with violence. Violence is overcome with peace.”
Our Church has given us tools to help keep us from being influenced by the evil one who loves to lead us towards violence and death and disunity. Attending mass is one of the best ways to grow in to the person Jesus wants us to be. We become more like him, when we receive him. The Sacrament of Reconciliation helps not only us, but the people we live with. I already mentioned prayer, but I want to mention it again because it is so powerful. I especially recommend asking Our Blessed Mother, Mary to intercede for us. She loves us all as her children and wants us to live together in peace and in harmony. We call her the Queen of Peace. We must follow the Church’s lead in calling all people to respect LIFE in all of its form. Respect for LIFE should be at the heart of who we are. Be a people who say, EVERY LIFE MATTERS. Stand up for the Christian values that have been taught us and live them out. When we end mass we are told, “GO FORTH”; that means that we have now been empowered by the Lord and sent out to make a difference in this world. We really need to change this world.