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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Heal Us, O Lord. Lift the Anger from our Hearts!

First responders at terror attack in Boston
   Though I do not now live in Boston my heart will always be there, and it is a broken heart after the terror attack at the Boston Marathon this past Monday. I will add, however, that I truly believe in the Scripture verse which says, "The Lord heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds" (Ps 147:3)
   To be sure that healing will take a long time but I have been lifted-up and moved by the prayers coming in from all over the world and by gestures such as the one provided by the New York Yankees and other sports franchises who transcended sports rivalry to lend support and prayer. Even more encouraging has been the actions of first responders and others who ran to the scene to help the victims as well as that of Bostonians who opened their homes to stranded marathon runners and, of course, the spontaneous outpouring of love shown to the Richard family of Dorchester at the rally last night in Garvey Park. (see picture below)

    My reflection today leads me to ask why have we been experiencing so many acts of random and irrational violence, be it from guns, bombs, or whatever.The answer, I believe, lies in the human heart, a heart that is in need of healing.  It is easy to blame politicians, government or whatever for what is going on, and certainly there is much to improve about today's political world, but I think that each one of us has to look into our own heart for the answer.  The truth is thatthere is way too much anger in many of our hearts.

   Anger has its place.  We get angry at injustice.  Anger motivates us to seek justice, and then to seek reconciliation with those who have wronged us.  Often, however, justice is not granted. We are wounded. The anger is unresolved.  This may begin with little things like not getting our way with the fifth grade teacher.  Hurt builds upon hurt.  We feel excluded from the political process, from our family, our Church.  The anger mounts.  It has to come out.  For most of us it does not come out in acts of extreme terrorism, but in things like road rage or political ranting on Facebook. it comes out in acts of emotional terrorism against family, neighborhood or the people we work with.  What to do with such anger?  Ask the Lord to heal our angry hearts. Ask the Lord to drain the air from our "anger baloon" that is filled with unresolved anger.  Anger that is originally justifiable and understandable turns to bitterness and resentment.  At its worst this anger leads to terrorism. At the least it makes for a lot of angry people walking around with a chip on their shoulder.

   Alcoholics and others in 12 steps programs know that resentment is the surest way back to the bottle.  Let us head the words of St. Augustine, "Maintaining resentment is like drinking poison and hoping that the other person dies."  I would add that sometimes it leads people to outright kill.

   Lord, heal our wonded and angry hearts!
   



Spontaneous vigil for the Richard family.  8 yr old Martin was killed and his mother and sister are critical.

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