Our hearts are heavy today in the wake of the crime and tragedy of George Floyd’s death. We pray for the repose of his soul, for his family and the understandable outrage experienced by so many because of injustice and racism in our country.
I was reminded that we have much to learn from the unity that exists among Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Their unity is held together by love – the most important and enduring theological virtue that can unify us, if we let it!
However, our Old Testament reading this morning acknowledges our stubbornness, even before our God who is “gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in love and fidelity” (Ex. 34:6). As Moses describes, we are often a “stiff-necked people” – a people who often turn away from God, who fail to listen and learn from our mistakes.
For this reason, we must be willing to turn to our loving and merciful God, particularly in these troubled and anxious times. We must let God’s love embolden us to pray for peace and work for unity and justice in order to eradicate the sin of racism, which fails to recognize that all people are created in God’s image and likeness.
This week, Pope Francis made the Church’s position abundantly clear with his statement: “I have witnessed with great concern the disturbing social unrest in your nation in these past days, following the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd,” he said. “We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.”
Our response to the love and unity we speak of and desire must also denounce violence which is self-destructive, self-defeating and promotes fear and misunderstanding. Nothing is gained by violence but so much is lost.
Today, as a community, please pray for the repose of the souls of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and for all those others who have lost their lives as a result of the sin of racism. We also pray for peace and unity so that we may be instruments of God’s love, as described so beautifully in the prayer of St. Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
I also invite you to join members of our community as we begin to pray a Novena for peace today at 3pm. We will say the prayer of St. Francis and then recite a decade of the rosary. You may pray the novena individually or as part of the group. Please refer to the website or AQ’s Social media platforms for more information.
May the promise of becoming instruments of God’s love, unity, and peace lead to healing and contribute to the work to end racism.
God Bless you and our Aquinas House Community.
fr. Brendan Murphy, O.P.