Eve of the Feast of GREGORY THE GREAT- Bishop of Caesarea, 379
It is difficult to contemplate the great work of a great theologian and saint on this evening following one of the most horrific of tragedies imaginable. Those families, friends and neighbors of the victims of the shootings in Orlando who prayed and worshiped and trusted in God all their lives must now be staggering in shock, as we all are, and thinking if not saying the same lament as is attributed to Our Lord by Saint Matthew’s Gospel as he hung upon the cross: “Eli Eli Lama Sabachthani ” which are in actuality Greek words transliterated from the Hebrew meaning “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me” At times like this we come close to cursing God, if not directly then indirectly through our doubt. Why does he let this happen? What purpose is served, what lesson is worth such loss of life and emotional pain?
I am afraid I have no answers to offer to these questions. From our experience of the tragedy in Charleston last year we saw a miracle of forgiveness and love when every sign pointed to hate and revenge. Perhaps Orlando will produce a similar result.
What comforts me, as it has always comforted me, is first the hope of the resurrection, and secondly the eternal nature of Holy Church. Despite war, famine , disease, pestilence and outright barbarity the Catholic Church has endured. Men like Saint Gregory have served it in ways that have taken complex dogma and turned it into life giving ministry. Despite the tragedy of Orlando and its martyrs my faith remains steadfast. I hope and pray that yours will too.
Let us pray:
Be our light in the darkness, O Lord, and in your great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night, and every night and day for the rest of our lives; for the love of your only Son Our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
Be of stout heart and good courage brothers and sisters, love those whom you are called to love despite their ugliness or their hatred toward you. In doing so you will save your own soul and theirs. Amen.
Perhaps at a later time we can be more composed and analyze Saint Gregory with proper regard.