A New Low

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file0001339642180In a nation where you have to kill over two dozen people to reach the top of the mass murder list, the Newtown massacre stands out, not for the sheer number mowed down in cold blood, but for their ages. They were mostly innocent children, at the dawn of the age of reason. They never met their killer, never harmed anyone in their brief lives, these lovely little children never gave anything but sheer joy to their families who are in agony at their senseless killing.

This is a new low.

As a nation we are horrified at the grotesque image we see in this new mirror which the shooter has held up to our culture. He acted out of free will, and has faced God for his particular judgement. We do not need to condemn him, we need to ask ourselves how our culture gave rise to such a monster. One hundred years ago, there were all sorts of murderers, but none like this. People killed for money, lust, anger, power but such carnage for sheer hatred or a sick sense of pleasure at the suffering of innocents was unknown. The culture of death created Adam Lanza and we have to face up to the terrifying fact that no law we pass will prevent this tragedy from reoccurring. We can ban assault rifles, step up waiting periods and background checks, attempt to reach the mentally ill with treatment (it is estimated that 30% are not in treatment) and keep guns from them. These are all laudable goals, but they are not enough. They are merely attempting to reign in the evil which we have allowed to emerge from our callous indifference to the slaughter of 1,500 innocents per day which has bloodied our hands for the past 40 years. Blessed John Paul II in his 1995 Encyclical “The Gospel of Life” saw this phenomenon,

Choices once unanimously considered criminal and rejected by the common moral sense are gradually becoming socially acceptable.

The end result of this is tragic: not only is the fact of the destruction of so many human lives still to be born or in their final stage extremely grave and disturbing, but no less grave and disturbing is the fact that conscience itself, darkened as it were by such widespread conditioning, is finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish between good and evil in what concerns the basic value of human life.

 

We are morally blind because we are spiritually dead. It is caused by our inattention to the things of God in our frantic pursuit of things of this world.

It’s a week away from the birth of Our Lord and Savior, and millions of Americans are frantically busy. Busy buying gifts, and preparing for the commercial side of Christmas. How many of us are preparing to receive Jesus into their hearts this Christmas? How many of us were reading the Scriptures, going to Mass and adoration, performing acts of charity, fasting and going to confession to prepare our hearts for His coming? Far too few. So many of us barely even make time for church at Christmastime, we are too busy partying. We have forgotten who we are; “By living “as if God did not exist”, man not only loses sight of the mystery of God, but also of the mystery of the world and the mystery of his own being.” Gospel of Life

It is a blessing which flows from the tragedy that St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Newtown is overflowing. That on Friday morning church bells here in Connecticut will ring 26 times in Connecticut in memory of those precious lives lost to our society. We will pray for the lost, but how soon will we return to our ordinary lives where we have no time for God? My parish was overflowing after 9/11 too, but the crowds soon dissipated as we forgot the terror. We don’t approach Our Lord out of love but out of fear. He loves us enough to accept us no matter what our motivation, but we don’t allow Him to get close to us, we are afraid of being changed. Changed into people whose lives are transformed by Him.

This Christmas, before you forget about this terrible tragedy, ask Our Lord what He would have you do to be an agent of change. Permit Him to transform you by the amazing grace of the sacraments into the Mother Teresa of your town. Stay in touch with Him through prayer, give Him your free time, your time, talent and treasure. Forget your hobbies, put aside your addiction to material things which can’t make you happy, and remember this adage;

Only one life, ‘twill soon be past
only what’s done for God will last.

The only tragedy in life is to fail to become a saint. God has permitted us to be born at this time for a reason. We must seek that reason, embrace our calling to profoundly change the culture of death. Or the painful lessons of Newtown will fade away and an opportunity to take back this culture from the hands of the enemy will be lost as will the souls of millions who are blinded by the culture of death.

Copyright 2012 Leticia Velasquez

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About Author

Leticia Velasquez is a wife and mother to three girls. Christina, her youngest, has Down syndrome. She is the co-founder of KIDS Keep Infants with Down Syndrome. Leticia blogs about daily life with Christina at Cause of Our Joy, and Causa Nostrae Laetitae. is her Culture of Life blog. She reviews books and films at Catholic Media Review. Her articles have been published in Canticle, Faith and Family, and Celebrate Life  magazines, and the National Catholic Register . You can find her work online at Catholic.net, Catholic Exchange, and Catholic Online. The Velasquez family lives in rural Connecticut.

4 Comments

  1. Jeanette O'Toole on

    Excellent! On ALL points. Any way your connections could get you on Huckabee, EWTN, Fox? If it be His will… I pray…

    • Leticia Velasquez on

      Thank you Jeanette! I am honored, but I think you overestimate the reach of my connections. I stand ready to speak anywhere if God calls for it.

  2. Fabulous article, everything I am thinking but you articulate so well. One point about the 1,500 lives lost … shouldn’t that read… “per day”? God bless you and your family this Advent & Christmas!

    Wanted to share an inspiring poem that I received today…

    Twas’ 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38,
    When 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven’s gate.
    Their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
    They could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
    They were filled with such joy, they didn’t know what to say.
    They remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
    “Where are we?” asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
    “This is heaven.” declared a small boy. “We’re spending Christmas at God’s house.”
    When what to their wondering eyes did appear,
    But Jesus, their Savior; the children gathered near.
    He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
    Then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
    and in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring.
    Those children all flew into the arms of their King,
    And as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
    One small girl turned and looked at Jesus’ face.
    As if He could read all the questions she had,
    He gently whispered to her, “I’ll take care of mom and dad.”
    Then He looked down on earth, the world far below.
    He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe.
    Then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
    “Let My power and presence re-enter this land!”
    “May this country be delivered from the hands of fools.”
    “I’m taking back my nation. I’m taking back my schools!”
    Then He and the children stood up without a sound.
    “Come now my children, let Me show you around.”
    Excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran,
    All displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
    And I heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
    “In the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT.”

    Written by Cameo Smith, Mt. Wolf, PA

  3. Thanks, Leticia, for this article, and thanks to Maria for posting that poem. I am going to share it with my ten year old daughter. She has been understandably quite shaken by what she has heard about the Sandy Hook shootings. Without our faith, there is no way to help anyone make sense of this.

    On another note, I know it’s probably old news to bring this up, but what do we expect when as a culture we allow young minds to be fed the constant, mind-numbing violence that has become our entertainment media? So many watch TV shows and movies that show horrific murder scenes, and if that’s not enough, they can play video games in which they become virtual murderers themselves. Are there no common sense measures we can take to limit the production of these types of “entertainment”?

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