The Aurora Shooter: Image of Loss – UPDATED

We all know his name, but I prefer not to use it in a public forum, mostly because his name should not be better known than the names of his victims.

I will use it, though, in private prayer.

Social media is abuzz that the shooter is in court being arraigned. People are looking at the images and using words like “catatonic”, “evil”, “empty”, “scared”.

I think he looks lost. Lost boy, lost soul. Knowing nothing at all about him, I can’t know if he has snapped out of a psychotic episode into comprehension. I have no idea what I am looking at in that image, beyond loss — both the loss he has created in the lives of others (and in the heart of the nation), and the loss within him that contributed to the nightmare he perpetrated.

Scripture says “deep calls unto deep” and the psalmist says “in your light we see light”; does loss seek loss — create more loss — in order that it may be less bereft, less alone?

When I hear about these terrible acts of evil, it always makes me wonder: did this person have anyone in the world, anyone in his life, praying for him? I know what it’s like to go unprayed for, by anyone. It’s an awful, desolate thing, a daily darkness. It is a vast emptiness, and one that seeks to fill itself, which is difficult to do when our culture itself is, in many ways, a vast emptiness that may temporarily distract but can never fill our voids.

If loss seeks loss, in order that it may not be so alone, we will see so much more of this as we become an increasingly empty, cut-off, isolated and secularized people.

While praying for the victims of this man, and for their families, can we pray for this lost soul, too? Can we pray that his soul may be opened to light, receptive to the light that is always seeking it out — for God, like the father of the Prodigal Son, is forever casting his sights to the horizon. He is like a beacon, forever seeking us out and calling us back to him, to his light, so we may not be lost. In the dark.

For those of us who pray the Liturgy of the Hours, each morning at Lauds we chant the Canticle of Zechariah (Luke 1:68-79)

In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Yes, I will pray for the shooter. We must. We really have no choice, if we believe what we say we believe, than to pray for his salvation, and for his deliverance, and for all those who “dwell in darkness” and are in a spiral from which they cannot break free, for the sake of light.

God is not finished with any of us. I will pray for the shooter by his now-terrible name, in hopes that he will be given a new one.

‘”To the victor I shall give some of the hidden manna; I shall also give a white amulet upon which is inscribed a new name, which no one knows except the one who receives it.”‘

Joanne McPortland, great as usual:

. . .the words miracle and monster are cognates. Miracle is rooted in the Latin verb “to look,” monster (like the words demonstrate and monstrance) in the Latin “to show forth,” with a secondary sense of “to warn.” (The first use of the word monster was to describe what circus sideshows called freaks, humans born disfigured or visibly disabled, whose deformities were considered a message from the gods.) Both monsters and miracles shout “Look here! Pay attention!” Both miracles and monsters are signs and wonders.

Read it to its conclusion. You will get goosebumps

UPDATE II (H/TKevin at New Advent) a sound question: Why Colorado?

Still, Harman said that theory gets complicated in Colorado, where so many residents arrive from elsewhere. ([the Aurora shooter] grew up in California.) Thousands of native Midwesterners live here. Ditto for East Coasters, Texans and Californians.

The Old West myth — and the New West one too, for that matter — holds that people can pull up roots and reinvent themselves. But such transience can lead to emotional isolation. And Harman noted that people who are social misfits and feel ostracized tend to lash out, not withdraw.

Read it all

Msgr. Charles Pope “If the light in you is darkness, how deep will the dark be?

Related: Reminders of the Fall; Evidence of Grace

The Anarchist Butterfly Effect

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About Elizabeth Scalia