Questions in evil's wake
Martin Richard's life ended as he waited at the Boston Marathon finish line on a local holiday. He was there to celebrate his dad's victory with his family. Instead, he is dead and his family has been changed forever.
When I heard that the 8-year-old victim of the marathon bombings had just received his First Communion, I thought immediately of Christina-Taylor Green. She's the 9-year-old who was murdered in Jared Loughner's 2011 rampage in Tucson. She had recently undergone that rite, as well. She, too, had an unforgettable smile. It's the look of innocent joy, an encounter with hope. “We are so blessed. We have the best life,” she would say to her family.
Christina-Taylor's name and now Martin's become for us a meditation. Not necessarily of a political nature — the testimony of their truncated lives calls us deeper. The photo of Martin in a classroom holding up a sign that says, “No more hurting people. Peace” has understandably gone viral. But merely collectively “Liking” the sentiment lets us off easy.
Jarring attacks on innocents cry out for us to do something. To really and truly build a culture of life, as Boston Archbishop Sean O'Malley urged at the prayer service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross three days after the marathon ended in death and destruction.
“This Patriots' Day shakes us out of our complacency and indifference and calls us to focus on the task of building a civilization that is based on love, justice, truth and service,” he said.
We are reminded, too, of our common bond: vulnerability. This should compel us to service and support, to friendship and love. And it's not easy — a mere donation to the Red Cross is not the true charity that we're called to.
While many scrambled to find a motive for the attacks, the Rev. Roberto Miranda of a Baptist church in nearby Roxbury named the problem: “As we have confirmed so graphically ... wickedness does exist in this world,” he said at the Holy Cross prayer service.
“We are people of faith,” he continued. “We believe in a benevolent God who holds a steady hand over history; who even as He allows hatred and fanaticism to have its moment, has also declared time and time again, through the many voices of millennial faiths, that in the end, goodness will always prevail.”
And so what do we do with the uncertainty and insecurity left in the wake of an encounter with evil? We recommit to what is good. If we take Martin's poignant message to heart, it will change the way we treat one another. Was I impatient with my brother? Did I ignore my sister? Did I hurt him?
Before he celebrated his First Communion, Martin would have taken part in the sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time. He would have asked himself similar questions.
In the midst of mourning and fear, Boston and the nation gathered to give thanks. To come together and better understand freedom and evil and redemption, raising the kinds of questions that laws or manhunts alone can't solve. That's not the work of legislation, but a lifetime of sacrifice, service, born out of and fueled by love.
Kathryn Lopez is the editor-at-large of National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Lowly job likely awaits former Pittsburgh police chief after prison
- Cole outduels Mets rookie, carries Pirates to victory
- Pirates’ McCutchen laughs off pay stub leak
- PennDOT puts final touches on Route 28 construction
- North Fayette man dies in 2-vehicle accident in Washington County
- Hempfield pair caught in vehicle scam
- Pirates notebook: Stewart, Cole develop rapport
- Murray, Alpha notify West Virginia coal miners of layoffs
- Shareholder vote causes ATI to review executive pay packages
- Bacteria levels in water at VA Butler Healthcare too high
- Online donors help Hempfield teen whose wallet was stolen