Along with many other people, I spent this past weekend trying to process the horrible tragedy that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. A young man only 20 years old burst into the school and shot 20 children and six adults after he had already shot and killed his own mother. He then killed himself. As the terrible details emerged and the stories of courage on the part of the school personnel became known, the reality sunk deeper and deeper into my consciousness. I watched every newscast with tears in my eyes and grieved with and for all of the families who lost loved ones in this senseless act of violence. Six and seven year old children gunned down in their own school! A principal, school psychologist and teachers dying trying to protect their students. This is unthinkable.
As I expressed my sorrow and offered prayers on Facebook and Twitter for all of those impacted, I found consolation in the many, many words of shared grief that I found. The social networks provided a place where we could speak our confusion, our anger, our shock, our disbelief that this could happen to children and their teachers. We consoled one another and offered support to those whose lives are changed forever. We thought about what needs to be done to end this culture of violence which erupts in the death of innocent people time and time again in our country. We called on our leaders to help us find a way protect our children.
I also found inspiration and heartfelt expressions of grief in the writing of other bloggers including Dan Horan, OSF, who wrote The Advent of Almighty God after Newtown CT and Melannie Svoboda, SND, who shared her reflections on The Shooting in Connecticut
This last full week before Christmas will find the people in Newtown burying their dead. I pray that the courage, the compassion, and the care that we have witnessed from the families, the school community, the first responders, the local clergy and our public officials as well as the outpouring of love and support from people all over our country and the world will somehow converge in an effort to bring true peace on earth.
This is my last blog for 2012. I will be posting again after the holidays. I wish you all the peace and joy of Christmas and blessings in the New Year. May it be a year in which our resolve to work for peace and to end all violence bears fruit. May Christ reign in our hearts forever.
Candle Image courtesy of Darren Robertson at FreeDigitalPhotos.net