"As the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11th attacks approached. On Faith reached out to some of the worlds most influential religious leaders and thinkers to ask about faith in the post-attack world." Elizabeth Tenety
Ironically, just before I had received the alert about President Monson's blog post, I had just finished reading another article on WP, about how religion is being excluded at the 9/11 ceremony. This made me feel so sad, and I couldn't quite figure out why? After all, the article explained, in the most politically correct manner, that the decision was made to resist any specific denomination becoming the focus, so as to not create any negative feelings for attendees. This is how Ronald Rychlak explained it...
"Some observers have claimed that religion is being banned or that ministers will not be welcome at the ceremony, but that is not exactly the case. The mayor says the focus should be on those who lost their loved ones. He has invited family members of the victims. Presumably, any family members who are priest, ministers, rabbis, or imams will be welcome. There just won't be any special invitations to religious leaders. Nor will prayers be part of the official ceremony."
That sounds somewhat reasonable, doesn't it? Rychlak went on to share his feelings in opposition to such an approach...
"In the case of the 9/11 ceremony in New York, a politician has decided for the victims that politicians will speak, but religious leaders will not. Mayor Bloomberg said that he did not want to "take away from the solemnity" of the occasion. I'm not sure how a prayer could do that. In the Catholic Church "solemnity" is a principle holy day in the liturgical calendar, usually commemorating an event in the life of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, or another important saint.
The implication from Bloomberg's statement, of course, is that prayer would detract from the serious and dignified nature of the 9/11 ceremony. If that is the view, it would signify a significant departure from America's traditional view of religion, and it would suggest a further advance of the new atheism movement. I feel quite certain, however, that this is a minority view. My guess is that if the victims' families were surveyed, they would overwhelmingly favor actual religious content over the faux-religious events scheduled by the mayor. It a shame that he decided this issue for them."
For those who acknowledge the hand of God, in all things, to disregard Him, particularly under these circumstances, is unthinkable. Unfortunately, this seems to be the current trend of too many in mainstream society. And this is precisely why I was so touched with President Monson's inspired comments on the Washington Post...
"There was, as many have noted, a remarkable surge of faith following the tragedy. People across the United States rediscovered the need for God and turned to Him for solace and understanding. Comfortable times were shattered. We felt the great unsteadiness of life and reached for the great steadiness of our Father in Heaven. And, as ever, we found it. Americans of all faiths came together in a remarkable way.
Sadly, it seems that much of that renewal of faith has waned in the years that have followed. Healing has come with time, but so has indifference. We forget how vulnerable and sorrowful we felt. Our sorrow moved us to remember the deep purposes of our lives. The darkness of our despair brought us a moment of enlightenment. But we are forgetful. When the depth of grief has passed, its lessons often pass from our minds and hearts as well.
Our Father's commitment to us, His children, is unwavering. Indeed He softens the winters of our lives, but He also brightens our summers. Whether it is the best of times or the worst, He is with us. he has promised us that this will never change."
You can read President Monson's entire post, 9/11 destruction allowed us to spiritually rebuild - HERE.
How comforting his message for a forgetful world is -- that God is still there, even when we, in our weakness, forget that great eternal truth. I know that I felt comfort in his words, and am grateful for his tender reminder to never forget -- He who is over all things.
Mormon Messages: Finding Hope - 10th Anniversary of 9/11
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