EMILY STIMPSON On Friday evening I went to Mass. I wasn’t sure what else to do. I arrived early, and knelt down to pray. As I did, the words of a friend echoed in my mind. “I don’t know why God allows our blighted race to persist.” I was wondering the same. When would he decide enough was enough and just end the whole blasted endeavor?
Then, looking up at the crucifix, I remembered: To him, the tragedy in Newtown came as no surprise.
From all eternity, he knew what a mess we would make of the gift of free will. He knew all that would happen to those beautiful babies at the hand of Adam Lanza. He also knew much, much more. He saw the sack of Constantinople and the killing fields of the Khmer Rouge. He saw Verdun and Gallipoli, Auschwitz and the Gulag. He saw acts of horror beyond imagining, as well as a million hidden acts of petty cruelty and narcissistic self-indulgence.
He saw it all, and he still gave his life for us. He thought the sacrifice was worth it. He thought we were worth it.
So who am I to question that? And who am I to do anything different? If he was willing to shed his precious blood for this blighted race of ours, then the least I can do is pray for Adam Lanza, to beg God to have mercy on his deeply troubled soul. I can also strive to be kinder to my neighbors, gentler with my family, and more thoughtful of strangers. I can share the truth about God’s love more freely and accept the sufferings he sends my way more willingly. And I can do it all without counting the cost.
I’m sure there’s more. But today, this is where I start.
— Emily Stimpson is the author of The Catholic Girl’s Survival Guide for the Single Years.
HEATHER MAC DONALD The New York Times, of all outlets, published some of the sagest words about the Sandy Hook abomination the day after the massacre:
Research on mass school killings shows that they are exceedingly rare. Amanda B. Nickerson, director of a center that studies school violence and abuse prevention at the University at Buffalo, said studies made clear that American schools were quite safe and that children were more likely to be killed outside of school.
Public discourse has long since leapt over that fact, and understandably so. But it is a puzzling matter what the collective response should be to such rare but horrific events — besides sympathy and sorrow — even if the natural inclination is just to do something, anything.