The Death of Bin Laden: A Franciscan Perspective

Here's a letter that's worth our attention and respect. It's from the newsletter of Holy Name Province in New York.   Fr. Mychal Judge, OFM a member of the province and FDNY Chaplain, was listed as the 1st victim of the 9/11 attack.  The photo below is an iconic image of the removal of his body from the tragic scene.

Preface to the Letter:  Since the night of May 1, when the death of Osama bin Laden was announced, Americans have experienced and expressed a variety of reactions including relief, elation, fear and hope.

In a letter distributed to Holy Name Province friars this morning, the HNP leadership recommends calm reflection on this event in light of a Christian faith.

Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM, and the members of the Provincial Council encourage remembering the Word of God: “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles, or the Lord will see it and be displeased.”
The visit of St. Francis of Assisi to sultan Malik al-Kamil at a time of war reminds Franciscans to work for reconciliation.

Brothers and sisters:

The electrifying news that Osama bin Laden has been killed has gripped the attention of our nation and the world, occasioning powerful and conflicting emotions and reactions. It also invites us, as Franciscans, to stand back and reflect prayerfully on what God might be inviting us to in the wake of this death.

Like so many, perhaps our first response, on a very human level, was a sense of relief. The sinister attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, are still deeply embedded in our national and personal consciousness. These images surface not only anger but also fear and unease at the precarious nature of life. On Sept. 11, we lost one of our own brothers, Mychal Judge, OFM; many people we serve also suffered the deaths of relatives and friends in the attacks.

Since 2001, we have felt the emptiness of the loss of loved ones, as well as the darkness of fear that 9/11 opened in all of our lives: Will we be attacked again? Osama bin Laden in many ways became the embodiment of our fears. The announcement of his death, then, may have produced an understandable dimension of cathartic release — a sense, or at least hope, that things may be better. Such a release may initially express itself in joy. But, if we are honest with ourselves as Christians, we quickly feel quite uncomfortable with a joy that comes from the death of another human being — even one we call our enemy. Isn’t this discomfort the sting of conscience reminding us that as Gospel people, as Easter people in this season of hope, we are called by God to something more?  
We are reminded in the Word of God: “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; or the LORD will see it and be displeased.” (Proverbs 24:17-18a) So, if we are not to rejoice at this event, what is the invitation of God?  (Read the full letter here...)

1 comment:

My Life said...

Fighting communism is what he doing your reflection removes our peaceful manors as radical when? Your ugly manor removing Mine is who he, Francis, Anthony, many, especially our Redeemer, told you to cease that stuff you do instead of killing Me...

Nobody banking on Me removing My Life so much, no interest much for the kind of ball I alone flinging,removing Goliathan presence US, you esteeming, grow, never teach right.

As Jedi Knights we truly become when we bravely whack that ugly embracing guy US brought Palestine. Who's the Martyr? Teaching that correctly is to leave moneyed manors that sick Calvary on Me. Al Qaeda is sanctuary full of battling horsemen as foretold. That's Fatima's Secret! Amen.