My husband texted me at 3:19 on Monday, “Turn on news. Explosion at Boston Marathon.” Going straight to the TV, I sat in disbelief watching the footage of chaos at a familiar location on Boylston Street. Quite honestly, a day later it still hasn’t sunk in.
My older daughter, having completed her second Atlanta marathon a few weeks ago, called me in tears, “Mom, that’s around the time I finish; that could have been me. It’s not like they were targeting the winners. They were trying to hurt people like me.” I’ve never heard her feel so vulnerable, even though she was 1,100 miles away.
My younger daughter continues to update me with the latest news, seeming to digest its reality with each additional detail. Her friend received a snapchat from another friend taken at the finish line 30 minutes before the blast. My daughter said to me tonight, “I don’t think there’s anyone around here who doesn’t know someone who knows someone who was there.” Her words echoed those of my friend who moved here from New York and whose family still lived on Long Island on the day of the September 11 attacks. I was on the phone with her when the second tower fell, “Oh, my God!” she cried, “That means everyone on the ground is dead.” She knew many police and fire fighters who were there. They all knew someone.
As the local news reveals each story of death or casualty, we grasp for reason and explanations. None suffice. There is only one: “…our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.” (Eph 6:12)
This is evil – pure unadulterated evil, perpetrated at the hands of one who “comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy.” (Jn 10:10)
When you look at life through a spiritual lens, evil’s existence fails to surprise, yet quite in opposition, explains. For those who see through a different lens, nothing satisfies.
When St. Paul wrote to the Ephesians about powers and principalities, he gave instruction about how to battle evil – instructions each of us should heed:
Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all [the] flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Eph 6:10-17)
As Catholics, let us clothe ourselves in the armor of God: in truth and righteousness and salvation with the gospel and the word of God as our weapons – praying for our families, neighbors, and country – that God’s mercy and protection be upon us, and especially upon the innocent… because, in all honesty, mercy is all we have.
St. Michael the Archangel, pray for us! Anne
Prayer to Saint Michael
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host – by the Divine Power of God – cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits, who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.