Pope Francis to People of Boston: “Resolve Not to be Overcome by Evil.”

JesusName 1


I have no words. 

It’s really as simple as that. These tragedies that keep pounding our nation’s heart, one after the dreadful next, leave me speechless. It happens that way every time. I learn of it, and, confronted by such senseless evil, I have no words.

Fortunately, the Holy Father was able to find words for all of us. Pope Francis sent a telegram to Cardinal O’Malley of Boston in which he gave the only advice Christians need at these times — “resolve not to be overcome by evil.” 

How do we “not be overcome by evil.” What good does a “resolve” of this kind do us?

The truth is we can’t fail to be overcome by evil if all we do is try to handle it under our on strength. Evil is stronger than we are. It can and will shatter us like crystal if we try to resist its destructive force by our own power, through our own understanding and our own will. Evil will break you every time if you fight it alone. It will leave you bitter, angry, hate-filled and self-righteous. Evil, of itself, has no redeeming qualities.

It is only when evil is filtered through the prism of the cross that it becomes light instead of darkness. Evil, suffering, senseless cruelty and death take on a new dimension when we view them through the light of eternity. In truth, there is no death. There is nothing so senseless that the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ does not give it meaning.

“Resolve not to be overcome by evil,” the Holy Father tells us and I would guess by “resolve” he means to give our fear, anger, hate, rage, and in many cases, our blinded numbness to the One Who has defeated evil once and for all. We are not chained to our grief. All we have to do is realize that and walk forward from it.

Pray for the people of Boston, and for this country. Pray and trust God. Know that the dead did not die and that Jesus is Lord always, and everywhere.

From Vatican Radio:

The full text of the telegram is below

His Eminence Cardinal Sean O’Malley 
Archbishop of Boston

Deeply grieved by news of the loss of life and grave injuries caused by the act of violence perpetrated last evening in Boston, His Holiness Pope Francis wishes me to assure you of his sympathy and closeness in prayer. In the aftermath of this senseless tragedy, His Holiness invokes God’s peace upon the dead, his consolation upon the suffering and his strength upon all those engaged in the continuing work of relief and response. At this time of mourning the Holy Father prays that all Bostonians will be united in a resolve not to be overcome by evil, but to combat evil with good (cf. Rom 12:21), working together to build an ever more just, free and secure society for generations yet to come.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
Secretary of State

  • Bill S

    “It is only when evil is filtered through the prism of the cross that it becomes light instead of darkness. Evil, suffering, senseless cruelty and death take on a new dimension when we view them through the light of eternity. In truth, there is no death. There is nothing so senseless that the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ does not give it meaning.”

    That will be consoling to those who believe. It will have the opposite effect on those who don’t. The latter will see it as a random act with no redeeming value. That is how I have had to look at such things when they happen to me and people I know.

    I had trouble getting a hold of my son because of all the cell phone use in the area. I finally got through to him and he was nowhere near the marathon route. You just never know. He used to work about two or three buildings away from the first blast and in between the two. He tried to call us and ended up on the line with a girl who was also trying to call her parents. For a while, they cut off cellphone service in fear that a cell phone could be used to set off another device.

    An eight year old boy from Dorchester was killed after he went to hug his father at the finish line and went back to his mother who was also injured. I don’t know how they will live with this.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      You’re like a man dying of thirst who refuses water when it’s offered to him, Bill.

      “It will have the opposite effect on those who don’t. The latter will see it as a random act with no redeeming value. That is how I have had to look at such things when they happen to me and people I know.”

    • pagansister

      Bill S. Am so glad your son is OK. I actually thought about you yesterday after the news broke, and hoped you were OK also—and you are. The folks who are directly affected by this have a very long road ahead—-it is horrible. This is more proof that there are those in this world who have no love or compassion for those they share the planet with.

    • Theodore Seeber

      Turns out that they didn’t cut off cell phone service- but the outage caused by all the people trying to contact loved ones may well have saved lives. Not enough detail yet- but in a world where prepaid go-phones are used as detonators, it seems to me the *best* thing anybody can do in this situation is try to get in contact with their loved ones- repeatedly. A great example of the type of miracle caused by God and Love that the secularist will never quite understand.

  • Bill S

    “There is nothing so senseless that the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ does not give it meaning.”

    Without knowing what a victim’s loved ones believe, you can’t be sure that these words would be consoling. If I were grieving the loss of my wife or child, I wouldn’t want to hear it.

    • Theodore Seeber

      “If I were grieving the loss of my wife or child, I wouldn’t want to hear it.”

      While this is understandable- after all, who wants to hear in their grief that there’s a reason FOR the grief- it is also a part of what I’ve seen before in your writing Bill S.; it seems that you’ve been seduced by the atheist version of the “problem of evil” precisely because you want to retreat from evil rather than attack it.

      Where I, if it were my 8 year old son lying dead in the street, WOULD want to hear all such explanations- in search of the one that makes sense.

  • pagansister

    Rebecca, this horrific ( but as you say, there are no words to describe things like this) incident helps remind me that events like this happen almost everyday in several parts of the world. Children and adults live with constant threat that they may die at any minute. It seems that no amount of praying changes things. I agree with the Pope as well as others who say—if we stop doing our everyday activities then the “bad guys” win.

  • Bill S

    “after all, who wants to hear in their grief that there’s a reason FOR the grief”

    The reason for these people’s grief is someone’s pathological desire to inflict damage on people they don’t even know. Beyond that, there may be some cause that they are trying to promote in their own twisted way. That is it. There are no supernatural reasons. Why people insist that there must be is beyond me.

  • http://FromMyHeartToYoursAJourneyofFaithandPrayer Barbara Arndt

    I too was reminded of the happenings daily in other parts of the world and the constant threat they endure; but I disagree with your statement pagansister “It seems if no amount of praying changes things”. As a Christian, I believe that prayer is very important. We can not always see with our own eyes immediate answers to our prayers. I don’t understand the “why” of God’s timing but I do know that it’s always at just the right time. I praise God for the miraculous answers the missionaries write about -those small changes that are happening in their lives – the lives of the war torn people, and the area in which they live – for the safety provided them; they say it is because of the prayers of those who daily pray for them. Evil is stronger than a mere mortal, but it has been overcome by the death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus. Therefore I have no fear – for I know that my prayers going before the Throne are a sweet fragrance to the Lord and He hears and answers them in His timing not mine. So as As Rebecca says I
    will “Pray for the people of Boston, and for this country. Pray and trust God. Know that the dead did not die and that Jesus is Lord always, and everywhere.”

  • pagansister

    “Pray and trust God. Know that the dead did not die and that Jesus is Lord always, and everywhere”. That works for you, and many others, Barbara Arndt. Not so much for me. The 3 who have already died, including that 8 year old boy, are dead. Gone. All those little ones in Newtown will never be back, nor will their teachers. I am glad that some can be consoled with prayer and the thought that perhaps those we can’t see on the earth are actually still alive in a celestial place. If prayers were answered, how is it that the horrible events still occur? Some will chalk it up to “evil” , others to human’s free will. An unanswerable question, IMO. I sincerely hope that those who have loved ones who died or were wounded have a faith that will help them through the recovery time and forward from that. I expect there is a lot of PTSD will have set in by now—just like the soldiers that have returned from war. My heart and thoughts are with them, and now with the folks in West, TX.


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