It's a talkative world. And when we talk a lot there's always the risk of speaking glibly, superficially ~ like rushing into a conversation and asking someone, "How are you?" and then not waiting for an honest reply, the other answering, "Fine!" when perhaps he or she is not "fine" at all. Just an expression.
And in all of these terrible terrorist episodes people say to the wounded nation, "You're in our thoughts and prayers." I so hope they mean it. Does that mean: I will stop what I'm doing to ponder this horror and to pray, or just let it flash through my mind while I'm stuck in mall traffic?
Media people are especially guilty of this - just words to wrap up an interview. Then they might say something like, "The nation is getting back to normal...people are moving on with their lives." The dead haven't even been identified, their bodies so destroyed, and the news anchor is declaring the nation is getting back to normal. Why do we talk this way?
Saint Joseph is the patron of Belgium. We might stop right now and pray before his icon here on the screen: Joseph Guardian, Protector, Mentor. Our prayer might be silent - a thought held. When these terrorist acts happen, people gather in huge numbers to gaze, to bring a flower or a candle, to be silent in solidarity with the others who are grieving. Pope John Paul II brought the word solidarity forward. It is a very important word.
For those who died this week in Brussels.
For those who are in mourning.
For those who are searching for loved ones.
For rescuers and helpers.
For the injured in hospitals.
For doctors and nurses who care.
For those who give blood to help the injured.
For those whose task is to identify the dead.
For those who plan and do evil, murderous things.
For investigators and police.
For those who are leaders.
For people who are frightened.
For anyone who is traumatized.
For the children who are afflicted.
For those who must travel.
For those who carry violence and hate inside.
For people who feel sad.
For those who twist up religion.
For those who are losing hope and happiness.
For those who make themselves into human bombs.