These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong...
President George W. Bush, September 11, 2001
The memories of we have of lost loved ones are truly a blessing for us, however, they are never enough. As much as we come to value the blessing of memories, the pride we feel for the heroes of that day and the consolation that has assisted us these fifteen years -- we still long for what we lost. We know that we will never regain what we have lost. The lives as well as physical and mental health remain a loss for us; but what about the many other losses? In these 15 years we have lost security, trust, unity, civility and hope. Fifteen years later, the words of President Bush no longer seem to be true; our nation has been frightened into chaos and retreat. In the days, weeks and months following the terrorist attacks, despite its horrific impact. I felt a unity like I had never known before. Now, fifteen years later, I feel a division and hostility that I never experienced before. As disturbing as it is to watch television footage of those days and the aftermath, I strangely find a sense of tranquility in the resilience, fortitude and unity they depict.
At Sunday Mass today, the Gospel reading included the parable known as the Prodigal Son. Jesus offers the parable as means of understanding God the Father's insatiable quest for the lost. The father of the parable rejoices that his scandalous son has returned as he joyfully proclaims that his son who was "lost" has been "found." The Greek work (in the original text) for the word "lost," apolōlōs, means to utterly destroy. And the Greek word translated as "found," heurethē, is also used to announce the pregnancy of the Blessed Mother; "Mary was found to be with child." We might say then, that which is utterly destroyed is found alive only through God.
Memories are a blessing not simply because they help us to remember what we had, their blessedness is greatest when we realize what still remains. The resilience, fortitude and unity that I remember has not been lost, because they were signs of the Lord's presence. We remain in the abiding and loving presence of God but we feel lost. We are like the lost sheep who knows it is lost but does not know how to be found.
On this 15th anniversary I pray for our nation that we may be found and that we may by the grace of God recover the security, trust, unity, civility and hope. Many of those who have lead our country have caused chaos and a retreat from the communion we once knew. And unfortunately there are those on the leadership horizon who seem to be setting a course deeper into the darkness. It is therefore up to people of faith, to let God be God. We seek to be found so that we can share in the recovery of what was lost.