Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sunday 24A and Tenth Anniversary of 9-11: "Wrath and anger are hateful things"

"Wrath and anger are hateful things, yet the sinner hugs them tight."

Many reacted with anger when they became aware on 9-11 that we were under attack. When they found out who was attacking us some began to focus their anger on individuals. When OSB, the ringleader of our enemies on that fateful day, was finally prevented from committing any more evils some danced on his grave in delight.

But we love a God who does not delight in the death of the sinner. And He calls us to shun all hatred and its attendant emotion of anger. He does this without in any way diminishing his mission to bring full justice to the earth. But God's ways are not like our ways and we sometimes struggle to understand why He both permits evil and forbids us to be angry about it or to seek vengeance. He does this because He loves us and desires that we be saved so as to love Him. And he calls us to love ourselves enough that we defend ourselves and our lives while also shunning the sin which can keep us from Him.

"Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one's own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:
If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful. . . . Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one's own life than of another's." (CCC 2264)

The terrorism that resulted in violence and death ten years ago today is a grave crime against justice and charity.

"Terrorism threatens, wounds, and kills indiscriminately; it is gravely against justice and charity. Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity. (CCC 2297)

Our wounds cannot be healed by nursing a desire for revenge.

"By recalling the commandment, 'You shall not kill,' our Lord asked for peace of heart and denounced murderous anger and hatred as immoral. Anger is a desire for revenge. 'To desire vengeance in order to do evil to someone who should be punished is illicit,' but it is praiseworthy to impose restitution 'to correct vices and maintain justice.' If anger reaches the point of a deliberate desire to kill or seriously wound a neighbor, it is gravely against charity; it is a mortal sin. The Lord says, 'Everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment.' " (CCC 2302)

Our temptation to seek vengeance is tempered through our efforts in defense of self, neighbor and country.

"Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility."(CCC 2265)

Healing will also continue to come through our efforts together to patiently coooperate with all of the measures that help to ensure such atrocities are never committed again. The greatest healing, the power that overcomes all hatred, is the grace of Jesus Christ. We grow in this grace through daily conversion which entails rejection of all hatred and desire for revenge.

"Forgive your neighbor's injustice; then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven." In addition to prayer we are blessed with abundant means to overcome anger and transform desire for vengeance into work for justice which does not blink in the face of the enemy and also peace which keeps our view on eternal life and salvation for the whole world.

"Conversion is accomplished in daily life by gestures of reconciliation, concern for the poor, the exercise and defense of justice and right, by the admission of faults to one's brethren, fraternal correction, revision of life, examination of conscience, spiritual direction, acceptance of suffering, endurance of persecution for the sake of righteousness. Taking up one's cross each day and following Jesus is the surest way of penance." (CCC 1435)

"Remember your last days, set enmity aside; remember death and decay, and cease from sin!Think of the commandments, hate not your neighbor; remember the Most High's covenant, and overlook faults."


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