Guest Post – The Horror

This post is from Christopher Page, who is a long time member of The Contemplative Society. (See Local Teachers page.)

The original post appears in full on Christopher’s blog.

The horror of Friday, December 14, 2012 stands as yet one more reminder, if we need reminding, that there are forces at work in the world over which we have no control. Terrible things happen to people who have done nothing to deserve the devastation that has invaded their lives.

Whether we live in Canada, the US, or any of the vastly more violent and unstable parts of the world, if our sense of well-being in life depends upon our ability to control all the forces that may ever inflict themselves on our lives, we will live forever in dread of the potential horror we may one day meet.

Jesus said to his followers,

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.

But he went on to say,

I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. (John 14:27)

The peace Jesus promised is a peace that does not depend upon our ability to control the circumstances of life. It is a peace that does not come from living a life in which bad things never happen.

If we can find it, there is a place deep within our innermost being, where the peace that Jesus promised resides. In the face of even the most frightening horror, it is possible in time to experience a reality that is deeper than the chaos of circumstance on the surface of our lives. If this reality does not exist, then horror has the final word and it is difficult to imagine how the people of Newtown will pick up and carry on their lives today.

But Jesus came to demonstrate that there is a deep presence at the heart of life that has the power to sustain and strengthen us. The hope of peace in the midst of pain is always present.

It may take years to come to this peace of Christ, but the more we practice today resting in that deep spring of well-being, the more we will be able to find that place, when, God forbid, we should need it as badly as the shattered people of Newtown, Connecticut need it today.

In the end, the only really worthwhile question we can ask is how do I react. Do yesterday’s events cause me to live more authentically, to love more deeply and to be more gentle? If my answer is yes, then there may be some tiny shred of redemption that comes out of the terrible horror of this event.