OVERCOMING EVIL WITH GOOD IN THE LIGHT OF THE ATTACKS ON THE WORLD TRADE CENTER AND THE PENTAGON.

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The kings of the earth did not believe, nor any of the world's inhabitants, that enemy or foe could enter the gates of Jerusalem. Lamentations 4

"The weapon? Fully loaded passenger jets." MSNBC, 9-11-01

It has been a terrible day of horror, violence, and death.

When the Oklahoma City bombing happened, everybody immediately knew it had to have been done by somebody from the Middle East. A Middle Eastern immigrant was identified as a suspect, and his home address was broadcast. A mob went to his house and began shouting and throwing stones at it. His wife was inside, she was pregnant, under the stress of the event she gave birth while hiding in the bathroom, and the baby was stillborn.

As it turned out, the bombing had been carried out by the 100 per cent American Timothy McVeigh, a Catholic altar boy who grew up, joined the Army, fought in a war, and then went on to become a terrorist.

Maybe these attacks were engineered by Osama bin Laden and the Afghani Taliban. Or radical Palestinians. Or the Iraqis. Part of the problem is that there is no lack of people who hate us. Lots of folks out there dancing in the streets because the Great Satan has been smitten.

It's also possible this was a home grown attack. It could be whacko Aryan Nations warriors striking out against what they call ZOG ("Zionist Occupation Government"). We don't know. We hope that time will tell, but there are no guarantees. We should beware of any rush to judgment. "Sow not in furrows of injustice lest you reap a seven-fold harvest."

Worn out from weeping are my eyes, within me all is in ferment; My gall is poured out on the ground because of the downfall of the daughter of my people. Lamentations 2

A few days after the bombing of the federal building, I prayed the Rosary late at night from a place where I could see the rescue activities at the Murrah Federal Building. Instead of the traditional mysteries, I prayed for the victims, the rescuers, the families, those who were trapped in the building, and the perpetrators. It seemed to me to be the thing to do at the time, and I recommend it again here and now.

Rise up, shrill in the night, at the beginning of every watch; Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the lord; Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your little ones. Lamentations 2

Whoever did this intended grave evil, and their triumph will only increase if we respond with more grave evil. To become what they are diminishes us and gives victory to the culture of death. We indeed are at war, but it is much more than a temporal battle. We fight ultimately against great spiritual powers of evil and darkness that would consume the entire world in hatred and violence.

We should not underestimate the temporal and spiritual dangers that our headlong rush to Empire have brought upon us. If these be times when a radical evil is going to come upon us so strongly, this is a sign that clearly and without ambiguity calls us to respond with radical good works and prayers of mercy, justice, and peace that are greater than the evil which threatens.

On a day when it seems that so many things are out of control, let us remember that we do have a choice about how we respond to this. The Apostle Paul advised the Romans: "Do not be overcome by evil, but rather overcome evil with good." The government will do what it feels like it has to do, let us pray that our national and personal response will be rooted in justice and righteousness. If it is vengeance we would seek, let it be a vengeance of good works of mercy, justice, and peace that are dedicated in reparation for these grave events.

Dead in the dust of the streets lie young and old; My maidens and young men have fallen by the sword. Lamentations 2

O Christ God, Lord of Glory, who gave us joy and blessing from your Mother's womb, have mercy on us and save us.

"The Pentagon will be open for business tomorrow." Scrolling at the bottom of a screen on CNN. 9-11-01.

Robert Waldrop

Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House in Oklahoma City

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The Works of Justice and Peace

A little way of non-cooperation with evil.

+Live simply and justly in solidarity with the poor and marginalized and be a good neighbor. Make no war on them, rather, be one with them in spirit, truth, and love.

+Hear the truth when it is spoken to you. Discern the signs of the times and speak truth -- to power, to the people, and to the Church.

+Make injustice visible -- witness, remember, teach, proclaim, tell. Light candles, do not curse the darkness.

+Protect the poor and powerless-- listen, learn, educate, organize, empower participation, and respect life from the moment of conception to the time of natural death.

+Work for reconciliation with truth, evangelism, catechesis, orthopraxis.

+Celebrate life, goodness, beauty, virtue, responsibility, and joy. Practice peace, non-violence, servant leadership, harmony, community, voluntary cooperation, and the proper stewardship of God's creation. Pray without ceasing.

+ Ensure fair distribution, subsidiarity, economic opportunity, justice, and food security for everyone everywhere.

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