The Apostolate of the Laity

Waxing philosophical in communion with one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.

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Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I am just a sinner who holds fast to the notion that every human being on the planet is the result of a thought of God.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Meaningful Events

One of the challenges living in a culture that thrives on materialism is sorting out the announcements of upcoming events into those that are meaningful and those that are simply so much marketing fodder. The new fall television schedule is coming out and the airwaves are flooded with promotions for the the premiere episodes of various series. Over the years, the television networks have made hay by leaving a cliffhanger at the end of the previous season to get viewers to keep coming back. Do any of these premiers really matter?

I have to confess I've become of fan of ER over the last few years, and I do look forward to its new season. The show is totally unrealistic and more often than not I disagree with the politics and morals it portrays, but at the same time the writing and acting are usually fairly decent and the characters are engaging. By contrast, I also got hooked on Gray's Anatomy last year which is a completely morally bankrupt show. I've decided not to continue with it this year. But again, the question remains, do either of these events really matter?

Then there is the ever popular Harry Potter book launches. People turn the release of new Rawlings book into something that is supposed to be important. They camp out. Some find bootleg copies in advance. I've never read any of the Harry Potter series. While some believe they are a bad influece on kids, I kind of doubt it. I believe the sensational hoopla surrounding the release of the book or movie far more of a distraction from God than anything Rawlings probably writes. This is where I would hope parents would sit their kids down and remind them that it's just a book or movie, and in the grand scheme of things doesn't really matter.

Today we remember 9/11. Some calendars show it as Patriot's Day and other's don't; so I'm not actually sure if it's an official holiday. If the mail doesn't run I guess I'll know why. It is an event that does matter. Five years since that day, and I can still recall where I was and what I was doing when I learned we were under attack. I was driving to work to my job in Vancouver, and the late Peter Jennings was on the radio. Odd, I thought upon first hearing his distinctive voice, but as he began to describe the situation, I began to realize that our world was changing. I watched the second plane hit the tower with some coworkers huddled around a small TV at work. And I have a vivid picture of two F-15 fighters screaming out of Portland International Airport, loaded for bear.


No one in the Twin Towers or the Pentagon or those on United 93 knew that death would come to them that day. One thing that I've been reflecting on today is we know how many lives were lost, but how many souls were saved? It's not pleasant to think that for any of those who died that day that things only got worse after death. We want to believe that an army of angels swooped them all up to Heaven. And while it would be terribly sinful to go down the list of the people who died and try to speculate which individuals gained salvation, it is enough to believe that the possibility exists that some did not.

Who knows what the outcome was for the stockbroker who was carrying on an affair with a collegue while his wife took care of the kids in suburban New Jersey? Where was his heart when the tower fell on him? Who knows the outcome of the Vice President of Finance that long ago gave up on God and chose herself to make it in the world? Where was her heart when the plane blasted into her office and ended her life? Then there was the pedophile who lost his life, but ended the abuse he delivered to his child. What became of his soul?

I want to believe that none of the above people existed. It is easier to imagine that all were perfectly worthy of salvation. I hope they were, and I and millions of people around the world prayed for their souls, and perhaps Christ's infinite divine mercy saved them all. That is my hope and my prayer.

Every day, we make a choice as to how we will conduct our lives. Sometimes we fail. Lord knows I do. But I hope that should a meaningful even like September 11 ever happen to me, my suffering will be short, and my life with Christ eternal. And because I know not when the Son of Man is coming, every choice I make should be one that helps me prepare of His arrival.

That is far more meaningful than anything on TV.


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