Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Fear and Trembling

I don't often do "serious". I don't generally feel qualified to talk about current affairs (ok, with the exception of the EU referendum), since I live in a little bubble of child-herding/preschool runs/cleaning/translating/church/repeat. The news in recent weeks has been so horrific that I can't even bring myself to look at it most days.

The news about Fr. Jacques Hamel yesterday felt like a kick in the gut. It brought everything into very, very sharp focus, and I'm scared.

There's nothing special about St Etienne du Rouvray. It's a French town, like any other. With a parish church, like any other.  With a weekday mass, like any other. With a priest, like any other. And a congregation, like any other. 

This isn't just an attack on a single community, on a single priest. It's an attack on all of us. Another village, another time, another mass... any of us could have been in that congregation. I could so easily have been there. My children could so easily have been there.

So yes, I'm scared. I'm not ashamed to admit it. But I'm not going to give in to fear. "Be not afraid": there's a verb in there. It's an action. We're allowed to be scared, but we must let ourselves be comforted. We must stand up and be counted - in love, not in hatred. We must stand by the people of St Etienne du Rouvray, of Nice, of Paris. Of Turkey. Of Syria. Of Iraq. We must keep praying, keep attending mass, keep loving. We must not let hatred win. 

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