Many in our community have been saddened by the tragic and senseless violence to the Cipriano family this past week. As we follow this story in the news of a son slaying his father and wounding other members of his family, it is shocking and difficult to understand by any standards.
But for someone like myself who has great faith in goodness and in the loving care of God, it causes one to even wonder, “How could this be a part of God’s plan?” I found comfort in words a friend shared from Father John Huber of Catholic Central where two of the Cipriano boys attend high school. In seeking to lend both peace and some semblance of understanding to the young men who are classmates and are following the story with great concern, Father John addressed the student body.
“We cannot claim to understand what is incomprehensible, but we need to remind ourselves that this is not God’s will but that God will give us the strength and comfort we need to get through this…” He then praised the students for signing a banner with words of love and support for the Cipriano family, “It is a great sign of your love and Love is the most powerful force in the world. It is more powerful than evil, more powerful than anger, and all of you are filled with the powerful force of Love. “
As a parent of a 15-year-old boy, I was very touched by the tender reminder to these young men that we do not respond to such situations by feeding them with additional anger and hatred. Instead, we stifle anger and hatred with expressions of love and kindness. Reminding them, and all of us, that Love is not the weak response, but a powerful one, gives us a tool to use in times when we feel helpless to find a proper response. While anger is destructive and can eat away at harmony and peace, expressions of love for others are productive and bless us and those that our love lands on! Peter wrote in the Bible what I think would have been a fitting conclusion to Father John’s words, “Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil, or abuse for abuse, but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called – that you might inherit a blessing.” Thanks to the men of Catholic Central for reminding us that love is a powerful healing agent for this family and the whole community.