Blessed are They Who Mourn

Today’s Gospel reading is St. Luke’s account of the Beatitudes. The line from that passage that is most fitting for today is “Blessed are you who are weeping, for you will laugh” or, as St. Matthew phrases it, “Blessed are they who mourn for they will be comforted.”

As I already wrote this morning, today is a day of deep pain for me, as I remember my uncle and all those who died this day 12 years ago. It is a day on which I mourn

I offered a brief reflection at our Weekly Manna gathering today about what it means to say “Blessed are they who mourn” in the context of my experience of 9/11.

You can access a recording of my reflection here or stream it from the icon below. The podcast runs for 12:10.

The Memorial I Can’t Visit

I believe that there are are some wounds that do not heal. Some scars that fade over the years, but never quite go away.

Today, September 11, is like that for me.

For some people twelve years is enough time to no longer feel the pain. Enough time for the memory of what one saw that day to fade away. Enough time so one can go and visit the memorial that stands on the site where the Twin Towers stood.

For others, the pain is still there, but the memorial is a source of comfort to them. Being at a place designed to commemorate those who died makes them feel close to their loved ones who lost their lives when the towers were bombed.

I don’t begrudge that some people can do that. In fact, I’m happy for them.

But me, I still can’t go to the memorial at the WTC site. When I close my eyes, I still see more than I want to see of that day and its aftermath – the smoke in the sky…the ash everywhere…the pictures of the missing…the service with an empty casket we held for my uncle.

And nothing in any memorial will erase those images from my mind. Perhaps my fear is that being there will make the pain of those images even worse. I don’t know. But I know I can’t be there.

I will be talking about 9/11 at Weekly Manna today at noon. I’ll post a podcast of my talk afterward.