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Monday, May 27, 2024
The Observer

Reflections in a time of tragedy

We find ourselves in a time of fear and uncertainty. The details are blurry. The news is still ringing in our ears. We stand on unsteady ground. In this time of darkness, we seek an undying flame. To whom can we turn?
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
As the reports rush in and the numbers of dead and wounded climb, there is heaviness in our hearts. We anxiously await contact from our friends and families. We long to know they are safe. Where are we to find solace?
"Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted."
It's disconcerting, this feeling of powerlessness, this loss of control. We search for some understanding or some way to respond, yet it eludes us. We are at a loss. We fear the power of destruction and worry it might overpower us. Who will give us hope?
"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. "
We grow indignant. How many times must we face violence? How many times must we fear for the safety of those we love? The desire for true justice blazes within us. Who will guide us there?
"Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied."
In the swirl of emotions, our fear and doubt sometimes turn to anger. We cannot understand what would motivate such a senseless act. But anger and retaliation cannot heal any wound. Only love, even for an enemy, can rebuild what has been broken. Who will gentle our souls?
"Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy."
We are sometimes told all things happen for a reason. But this suffering is needless. There is no end great enough to justify violence. In bewilderment, we seek God, begging for an answer to our doubt. Who will renew our suffering hearts?
"Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God."
Violence is destabilizing. It breeds confusion and anxiety. And yet for everyone who perpetrates violence, there are always dozens more who rush forward to help recover from it. The power of good is alive and strong. Who will inspire goodness in us?
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. "
In time, we may gather the facts and details, but it is unlikely we will ever be able to fully understand why this has happened. In days to come, still smarting from fresh wounds, we may be tempted by unconsidered reaction. But we must distinguish between that which will contribute to further destruction and that which will restore. We must stand steadfastly behind right action. Who will give us the strength?
"Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
"Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. "
The Lord answers our calls. The Spirit is present among us. No evil can threaten us. All is made whole in God.
Angela Bird is a Saint Mary's freshman living in Holy Cross Hall. She can be reached at
    The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.