Earthquake: What Nobody Says
The sad news about the earthquake in and around Amatrice leaves me with the same feelings I have every time I hear news of this sort.
It seems to me that we do not go at the root of the issue. It seems to me that the well justified desire to pray and to mourn stops short of the most important considerations. It seems to me that everything is very superficial, emotional, filled with feel-goodism.
The secular press is all over it. Death sells.
Certainly, we pray for the dead. But we pray for the dead not because it’s the right thing to do to feel good with ourselves on social network sites. This is something the atheists do. We pray for the dead not because they have been deprived, by some Cosmic Injustice, of some Slice Of Cosmic Cake Due To Them. We pray for the dead exactly because they have gone to their judgment. We pray for the dead because we know that their souls live.
We know that no one really dies. The most important part of him, his soul, will live forever. Therefore, we do not think of their dead in term of loss, though it is certainly such for those they have left behind. We think of the dead in terms of their trial, examination, supreme test. They were tested without warning. Were they found wanting? Would I be found wanting?
Sadly, in days like this one it is very seldom to read such thoughts. From the Pope down, almost everyone drowns in the usual, facile ocean of emotionalism. Francis leads a rosary for people of whom he obviously has no fear that anyone might have been at risk of hell, no matter whether they were, say, living in adultery and unworthily, sacrilegiously receiving communion. It’s completely illogical, it just does not make sense. It’s emotionalism without logic. It’s “je suis Amatrice” (or rather Io sono Amatrice) tosh. It’s all the self-pleasing, feel-good platitudes without any of the real religion.
Earthquakes aren’t there to let us compete to see who writes the most sugary platitude on his facebook wall. Sure, they certainly motivate us to pray for the soul of the dead. But they are also there to remind us that this is a vale of tears, bearing in it all the time the tragic reality of the Fall; and to warn us that even in this very clean, safe, aseptic world of ours, death can knock at anyone’s door at one moment’s notice.
Literally, like a thief in the night. This is how the day of the Lord came for all the poor victims. We, who have not died, should not only pray for the dead, but wonder what would have become of us, if dead had knocked at our door in the very same hour.
Pray for the poor dead. Pray that they may have been prepared when their hour came so unexpectedly. Pray that they may have their purgatory shortened a bit through their prayer, as you hope other people’s prayers will shorten yours. Pray that, through providential help and by fully unmerited grace, God may have disposed that they were prepared when the hour came. But please also reflect on this: that earthquakes and natural catastrophes are there to remind us of the imperfect world following the Fall, and that every story of sudden death is there to make us shudder at the consequences of not being prepared.
The Master came back home unexpected. Were the servants prepared? Would I be prepared? Would you, and those you love?
These are the thoughts that should also – besides praying – occupy us on days like this.
I must say, I struggle to find much of that.
So there, you have it in the blog of the things that few people say.