Tonight, the nation is mourning the victims in the latest mass shootings, shootings that took place in a church, a house of God. There is a desensitization to the horror of what this means for the victims. And yet there is a haunting question, an awful incomprehensiblity about why this is happening and what exactly is causing this.
In the search for answers, in the ways the information about the shooter will be studied, in every stage of the news coverage, there will be a struggle to explain and somehow win control of an impossible reality.
Somewhere in all that grief there is a need for comfort, for a sense that such suffering has a meaning, a purpose. And for some, the simple words of prayer will provide the mantra that sustains us through the unthinkable. The idea that there is a higher power, a being capable of comprehending the depth of grief and healing the deepest of human wounds somehow enables the bearing of the unbearable. And uttering the words of a prayer familiar to you and to your partner, to your family and friends, hearing the reasonance of voices, that is courage and strength. Suddenly the words have more meaning , the moment has more purpose, and the scientific yeilds slowly to the mystery of the spiritual.
Mystery is a component of every aspect of the human experience, and still we strive to explain, to understand. What happened in Texas, or in Las Vegas a few short weeks ago, or in Sandy Hook an incredible five years ago brings a torrent of questions and waves of uncertainty. And somehow, in all this, there is still the intonation of the Hail Mary, the Our Father….the comfort of cadence and the hint of companionship through the journey.