When man-made or natural disasters occur which result in the loss of life, I have often posted here about the importance of being in the state of grace.
In the first LENCAzTs I have done, I’ve used texts from St. Alphonsus de Liguori about our preparation for death.
We don’t know when death will come. This is why in important prayers such as the Litany of Saints we pray: “From a sudden and unprovided death, spare us O Lord.”
A sudden death is not so bad in itself. Sudden and unprovided,without access to the last sacraments, is terrifying.
Turning my thoughts to the recent school shooting in Florida, I have a few thoughts.
First, given that we don’t want an unprovided death, let us not have an unprovided life. To avoid both, we must practice situational awareness.
Spiritual situational awareness involves a daily examination of conscience.
Sacred situational awareness involves full, conscious and active participation in our sacred liturgical worship.
Temporal situational awareness involves watching your physical surroundings, taking in the actions of people around you, knowing where your exits are, being aware of how to defend yourself and loved ones, taking in who is doing what and where, etc.
Know yourself. Know your surroundings.
Next, we must train in all three spheres.
Spiritual awareness is trained up through an examination of conscience which gets more thorough as we practice it on a daily basis. Sacred awareness becomes more profound as we discipline ourselves in it. Temporal awareness can be honed and sharpened over time.
In each case, we have aids to help us. There are printed examinations of conscience and spiritual reading. There are good aids, such as hand missals and commentary on the meaning of sacred worship. There are courses and different types of training for awareness of our surroundings.
We are members of the MILITANT Church. Soldiers drill. If you are a baptized Christian, you are a pilgrim solider. That means that you are never in the same place from day to day… you are making progress..
You must constantly drill and you must constantly advance.
This applies to all three spheres of situational awareness, spiritual, sacred and temporal.
Your souls and the souls of those around you depend on it.
In the wake of the Florida school shooting, we are once again hearing, “If you see something, say something.”
Cain the murderer said, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
We are all in this together. My spiritual progress helps the whole Church. My sins hurt you, members of the same Church.
When we see someone in need, we must intervene. If you see something, say something and act.
Having drilled in threefold situational awareness, you will find many opportunities for spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
Pilgrim soldiers on the march do not abandon their brethren on the wayside.
As I contemplate the Florida shootings – and I get alternately angry and sorrowful – I want at the very least to offer from my platform, in my role as a priest, for the love of God take yourselves seriously in the ways that count.
Take your vocations seriously. Take your unavoidable death seriously. Take your eternal destiny seriously.
None of the people who were killed yesterday knew that they were going to die yesterday.
It’s always some one else … until it’s your turn.
Situational awareness… spiritual, sacred and temporal.
GO TO CONFESSION.
That’s step number one.