A Life of Prayer Amidst News of Death

Every week there’s a tragedy for someone, just as every week brings some joy, too. But the last few weeks have seemed especially difficult, with strife, chaos, and unspeakable horrors being visited on people all over the world.

So this piece from Art House America is apt:

For me, the news about Iraq is a particularly deep ache. Amidst the worldwide horrors that deserve to be grieved, this news hits me closer to home somehow. I am a priest. If these Iraqi children who are being murdered were in my parish, they could rightly call me mother. This evil against people who I call brother and sister — who I truly feel are my family — feels sharp and painful and overwhelming.

In the face of such horror, shouldn’t the regular rhythms of the world stop? Shouldn’t we all pause and sit and pray and weep? And yet, my daughters need a mother who goes about her ordinary day. So as children face death on the other side of the globe, I take photos of my eldest as she begins her first day of Pre-K. As an Iraqi mother weeps over her son or daughter, I push my toddler through the produce section of our hippie grocery store.

I have prayed for the people of Iraq. We are giving money to organizations that help. But it all seems so small. Going about my ordinary day feels somehow selfish. Why should I go about normal life so normally when others are suffering so extremely?

I want to do more. Something more. But I don’t know what can be done. I want to talk to an Iraqi mother, to make contact, to tell her I’m praying for her, to say I’m sorry, to ask her what she’d have me do. In frustration and desperation, I say something crazy to my husband like “Why can’t we all just get on planes and head over there?” and he stares back blankly. So I change the photo on my Facebook profile to show ‘solidarity’ with believers around the world and it feels cheap. I fail to see how changing my profile photo affects anyone at all.

Read the rest here.

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