We should pray for the victims of the van attack in Toronto yesterday, the ten who have died, the others still in hospital in critical condition, and, yes, the perpetrator, who perhaps needs prayers most of all. Not much is known of him; a motive has so far not been disclosed, and it is always fraught to speculate. He has an Armenian name, a nation which is well over 90% Christian (almost all of them a branch of Orthodoxy). So we know not. We will write more as things unfold.
To put this into perspective, 67 people were blown to pieces in Kabul by ‘ISIS’ the day before that, as they waited in line for identity cards, a massacre that barely made the news. We know that nature is red in tooth and claw, but it seems human society is becoming more so, as we descend, as Pope John Paul predicted, into a new form of unspeakable barbarism as the culture of death grows. Aristotle wrote that only Man can be a beast, for, unlike the rest of the animal kingdom, only he can use his reason to devise ever-new forms of evil, like mowing down innocent bystanders with rental vans.
All blood shed can be redeemed, and today we celebrate Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen (+1622), martyred just as the fanatical and religiously-motivated 30 years war was beginning, by a mob of armed Calvinists whom the Franciscan was trying to convert. The saint’s holy death, forgiving his slayers as his blood dripped to the ground, like the protomartyr Stephen, led to the conversion of a number of them, including the pastor who instigated the murderers, again, in parallel with Saint Stephen’s own religiously motivated enemy, Saul. We really should not despair of anyone, and God needs very little to make a saint. A simple yes will do.
On that note, Fidelis had been a brilliant, virtuous, unimpeachable lawyer in his early manhood, but the danger of moral compromise in the profession led him to follow the radical path of Saint Francis, giving quite literally all to God, including his very life.
So there is always hope, even in the midst of what appears as tragedy. In the end, God is, and always will be, victorious.
Mary Mother of God School in Toronto is celebrating 25 years this year, hard to believe, since I recall its beginning with significant clarity. There is a Gala dinner on May 5th; the last day for tickets is (was) today, the 24th, alas. But you could always call and check.
And this Sunday is the Rosary on the Coast in Great Britain, to commemorate, if such be the word, 50 years of the ‘Abortion Act’. The unborn have shed more blood than all victims of all wars and holocausts combined, but God has some mysterious plan even in this inscrutable horror.
We should join their intentions in our own rosaries, at whatever time and locale. We also have our own March for Life coming up, this year on May 10th, as always, in Ottawa. So mark your calendars, if you can make the trek, and add your voice, for those who have no voice.