The anniversary of these suicides coincides sadly with the first "legal" case of doctor-assisted suicide in Oregon on Wednesday. Bob Castagna, spokesman for the Oregon Catholic Conference remarked, "This is a tragic and sad day for Oregon and the United States. May God have mercy on all of us." Amen. What is this country and world coming to? In Michigan Jack Kervorkian has gained international notoriety as the "suicide-doctor," assisting at over 100 planned suicides. And we're less than a month away from another suicidal event, the Waco catastrophe. With all this violence, there is still fresh in our memories the tragic killings of students and teacher in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Our Blessed Mother said at La Salette that children would kill children and turn on their parents, parents on their children. We can see this happening more and more as the news reports these abnormal behaviors more and more on a regular basis - from Daly City, California to Jonesboro, from Pearl, Mississippi and Padukah, Kentucky to San Marcos and Escondido, California where just a few months ago a mother shot her children to death and last month a younger brother killed his sister. Violence permeates our senses and dulls our consciences today.
Referring back to Our Lord's words in Matthew, we add to the words, Behold, He is in the inner chamber, do not believe it.": Behold, He is on Channel 18, do not believe it. But enough members of the media believed that they gave the ballyhoo publicity to Chen Heng-ming, a self-proclaimed Taiwanese True Way leader who set up shop in Garland, Texas, managed to grab the media's attention that God was going to appear on Channel 18 at midnight yesterday to announce He would be arriving on earth at 10 a.m. this next Tuesday. It reminded us of the Oh God movies with the late George Burns playing the Almighty One in very human terms. Exclaimed the also-late John Denver to Burns (God), "Who'd believe it?" Well, we believe it was P.T. Barnum who said, "There is a sucker born every minute!" There were plenty of suckers crowding the Garland streets Wednesday night, but what were they expecting to see? We have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. Everyone is looking for the spectacular. The more outlandish, the more ink or air time it receives. The more bizarre or violent, the more headlines and news bulletins they get. Didn't Jesus say "and will show great signs and wonders so as to lead astray"? He knew. Over the centuries we have had many false charlatans, but never of the quantity and diversity of today. And while gridlock was the situation in Garland with so many clamoring to "see" God, only a handful were actually "seeing" Him...but they were about ten miles away in North Dallas at Saint Monica's Catholic Church where perpetual adoration was in progress in the quietude of the chapel in the round with huge mosaic angels standing guard over the tabernacle. There, the few in prayer, knew without a doubt that God was truly present in the Tabernacle and they could "see" with their hearts through faith. This adoration is something that began about a year ago and was promoted vigorously by two close friends of ours Jack and Susan Towle who are endeavoring to spread it to other parishes throughout the Dallas area. But the fact God was truly present in the Tabernacle at St. Monica's, as well as other tabernacles in Catholic churches throughout the world, meant little to the media, meant little to the "signs and wonders chasers." It only proves the fact that the media is not interested in uncovering truth, but rather the sensational.
It has not been lost on us that the events in the news over this past few days encompasses three states we have lived in, many in close proximity. Having spent three and a half years in Bella Vista, Arkansas we can attest to the native mentality of guns being a way of life in that state. We can also see how kids would have easier access to the munitions because they are so prevalent. We can also see, not just in Arkansas, but all over, that children's psyches are very fragile and we don't realize how we, as adults, and especially the media can influence these young minds and hearts. We can place the blame on this or that, but the truth of the matter is hearts have been hardened because people are selfish and not willing to place themselves in God's providence. How many realize that self-esteem always suffers when one is rejected? How many realize that if one is not rooted in God and His laws, that low self-esteem can transfer into revenge and vendetta and create havoc such as the killings in northeast Arkansas and Daly City, California where a mother suffocated her three children this past week or countless other accounts of family murders or mass killings where the accused "went off the deep end." Can we see satan's signature in all of this? To use my Minnesotan upbringing, "You betcha!" And speaking of upbringing, this editor constantly has to say, "there but for the grace of God, go I." We cannot be immune to what is happening; we cannot close our ears to the poor and the oppressed; we cannot say it won't affect us or happen to us, because we are human and subject to the temptations and wiles of the devil. Therefore, more than ever we have to lean on God's Mercy and implore Him to protect us and our families. Our family has been exposed to all sorts of scams, been enticed to soften our stance on morality, and been in the eye of the storm more than a few times. We have lived within a few miles of Garland, Texas where many of our fellow Saint Pius X parishioners worked and lived. We have lived and visited areas that have been devastated by manmade as well as natural disasters from tornadoes to hurricanes, from floods to draught, from earthquake to fires. We cannot remain immune to what is happening, we cannot remain neutral, we cannot be flippant about the ridiculousness of the behavior patterns in the world today. Rather we must be totally committed to making a difference, totally committed to spreading the message Jesus and His Blessed Mother want imparted to all. We have to realize that it is not time to worry about being comfortable; rather seriously realize what will make God comfortable. Lent is the perfect time to get out of our worldly "comfort zone" and zone in on God's Will totally. It makes sense, at least to us, because the events in the news today are hitting too close to home for our comfort.