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What will it take?

September 8, 2011

By Sister Sheila S.

As the 10th Anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11 approaches much is being written that has caused us to reflect on the events of that day, what has happened since and what we hope and want for our future.

Both Joan Chittister, OSB in writing after 9/11 and Camille D’Arienzo, RSM in a reflection for CBS news on this 10th anniversary, have challenged us to consider a radical response to this tragedy.

In my own reflections and readings I wonder; how will we ever bring about a different world unless we do think and act differently and radically.  But I am also challenged to figure out how to do that.  Perhaps it is to be done one person at a time with each taking responsibility for changing her/his heart and way of thinking.  Perhaps it is in the context of community, be it the family unit, church community, religious community or small groupings of individuals who share a passion for radical thinking and acting in order to bring about a positive difference in the world.  I guess it matters not how it is done or the context for our radical response, but just that it begins somewhere and in the hearts of each one of us.

Our world and each of us has paid a terrible price for our past inabilities to bring about reconciliation and peace, interdependence and harmony, understanding, tolerance, care and respect.  How and when will it be different and who will make it so?  Globally, with each passing day the price gets higher in lives lost, relationships broken, innocent ones led astray, war, terrorism, and so much more.  As the often quoted definition of insanity says:  “Insantity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  I often feel as if the world has gone mad, but will we ever restore equilibrium and peace if we continue down the path we have made for ourselves.

Who will step out and think differently?  Who will stand up and act differently?  Which one of us is willing to risk for the future of our world?  The Gospel calls us to a radical way of living – loving our enemies, binding up the wounds of the suffering, feeding the hungry, giving to the poor, sharing all that we have, giving without counting the cost and more.  It is not easy but then the way we are living now is not easy and 10 years after that horrific day, September 11, 2001, are we any closer to a better way of life in our world?

“If not now, when?  If not us, who?” (Hillel)

Let us remember and let us pray for all of our brothers and sisters who lost their lives that day and each day since and for their families and all in our world who grieve.  And finally, let us pray for the courage to respond differently for the sake of all.


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