A Reflection from the Interpath Traditions
by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
Once, someone taught me a lesson about the most beautiful thing in the World. I was still a very young man wondering about the meaning of life and the purpose of my existence. The Viet Nam war was raging, fueled by lies and misinformation. We witnessed the maiming and killing of its children on the Evening News. Even soldiers rose up in protest, sounding the alarm. Many people in our own Nation took to the streets in protest. Soon America would be burning from the ill effects of racism, militarism, and greed. All of us were in tears as assassinations became the order of the day.
I thought the World might become a better place after the chaos of the 1960s. The success of the Civil Rights Movement was a great blessing to the Nation and a great hope to those who suffered from unspeakable injustice. I became alarmed as to how creative our hatred and racism became. Police violence, political vindictiveness, and voter suppression broke my heart. The blatant killing of people because of the color of their skin stirs my sense of outrage as the tears flow from my heart.
I truly believed the religious communities could be an instrument of peace, compassion and love in the World. A World broken with environmental destruction, pollution, poverty, and starving children. In many ways, the Communities of Faith are instruments for good, but the scandals and religiously motivated violence are more than I can endure. I find myself weeping and wondering if my hopes and dreams are forever lost in this troubled time.
I thought my Country would grow and prosper as the human rights and dignity of all peoples would be assured and sustained by just laws and civil decency. It disturbs me deeply, to the point of tears, to see the hypocrisy, selfishness, and expediency in the highest levels of Government. I wonder if the tears will ever stop.
Not a day goes by without another heartbreaking story moving us to tears. Gun violence seems out of control as those who should know better come to the defense of assault weapons in our streets. I wonder if the killing will ever end. My tears seem bitter.
Frequently I am asked, “What can we do?” As the days go by, I have fewer and fewer answers. But now I remember the lesson of my dear friend from years ago who told me the most beautiful thing in the World is a tear shed for the sake of another. Perhaps, our tears are not so much born of despair and frustration as our love and care. Another great Teacher once said, “Blessed are they who mourn.”
Blessings to you, Holy Community, for the love you give in the tears you shed. Blessings and gratitude to you for loving and caring. You are the consolation for many troubled and broken hearts.
(I will continue my reflection on “TEARS” on February 28, 2023.)