Finding Faith in Times of Grief: Using the Lasallian Identity to Help Heal

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Photo courtesy of flickr.com: Known as The Memorial Fence, this is a place where people leave flowers, stuffed animals and American flags along with other items to commemorate the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing.

Angela Cotta, Religion Editor

One more day. One more day of terror. One more day of grief. One more day of confusion. One more day of needing answers.

In a month that already includes the anniversaries of the Oklahoma City bombing (1995), the Columbine High School shooting in Littleton, Colo. (1999) and the Virginia Tech shooting in Blacksburg, Va. (2007), we find ourselves yet again asking the agonizing and unanswerable question of “Why?”

Why did people have to get hurt and die in Boston? They were not doing anything wrong. All of those people were there to take part in an American tradition that is over a century old.

Certainly, grief and the question of “Why?” are acceptable and even needed when tragedies like the events in Boston, Oklahoma, Colorado and Virginia occur. But, we can only ask “Why?” for so long; we would go crazy if we asked it for an indefinite period of time.

In addition to asking “Why?” we should also be asking “How?” as in “How do we help those who are grieving? How can we improve this situation?”

I find it interesting that perpetrators of the bombings and shootings commit these acts to tear down the American spirit. In this capacity, they have failed every single time. Why have they failed? It is our overwhelming faith in humanity that helps us overcome these horrific tragedies.

It was the loyalty of the emergency service workers who ran into buildings that had become places of terror. That loyalty gave the rest of us a reason to have faith in humanity.

It was the faith of the runners who got themselves to the hospital to donate blood even though they had just finished a full marathon.

This faith translates back to Lewis’s mission value of fidelity. This value, in addition to the values of knowledge, wisdom, justice and association, are always needed, particularly in times of great grief and torment.

Lewis’ mission values, which originate from our Catholic and Lasallian history, become a part of our individual character. Whether or not we realize it, the values instilled within us by Lewis have given us a special ability to help those in need of healing.

Lewis has given us great gifts, ones that make facing both the brightest and darkest moments of life even brighter and more bearable, respectively. Let’s cherish these values and continue to share them with others.

Angela Cotta
Angela Cotta was the religion editor for The Flyer from 2012-13. Click here for Angela's Archives

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