A Reflection on Violence, Pain and Our Response as Catholics by Father John Higgins

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The horrible shootings of police officers in Dallas are another tragedy in what seems to be escalating violence in our society and throughout the world. I have good friends who work in Law Enforcement so the murders in Dallas struck me hard. But other people have friends and family who are from Syria or Mexico, Brazil or China, The Ukraine or Israel. No place in the world is free from violence and tragedy.

I worry about things too. I have back pain and worry about parish finances and whether our Baptism font will work right or my car will have problems. I realize that these things are trivial compared to other problems. I should turn from those things to what is more important, which is the Divine Mercy of Christ who gives us His Grace for the asking, when we are sincere. Other folks are worried about paying their mortgage, losing a loved one to cancer or some other disease or their job is in danger. There are a lot of people in fear or pain or anger. Maybe one of those people is you or someone we know and love.

So, what is our response as Catholic Christians? If you are like me your response is often far from perfect. I am tempted to respond to violence with thoughts of anger. Resentment or even revenge. In those moments of temptation I am reminded by the Saints and by Jesus Himself that these things are not only “not helpful” but actually perpetuate the evil of violence. Responding this way gives aid to the enemy, which is not a single human person or group, but sin and evil  itself.


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My task is joyful and loving. It doesn’t seem to make sense, to many, but it truly is the only response that works. I’m not talking about situations in which self defense is necessary, like the response of the Police in Dallas or someone defending himself or herself from a violent attack. I am talking about our temptation to seek out anger, resentment and revenge.

A Police Officer I know told me that he has to leave those kinds of thoughts and attitudes at work. He cannot take those home with him to his wife and children. He said it would hurt them we are all the same.  We cannot bring those things into our heart, our faith, our Church.

So, what can we do?

Imagine yourself following Jesus as He carries His cross through the streets of Jerusalem and then up the hill of Golgotha. You watch as the soldiers nail Him to the cross and lift it and Him up so that He will suffer for hours and then die. You, like me, may not have the courage to do this at first, but when you are ready approach Him, kneel at the foot of the cross and let His Precious Blood drip and then flow over you. Ask for His Mercy and tell Him your sins, your flaws, your temptations and any other defects you have. Ask again for His Mercy and then turn it all over to Him, realizing that your Salvation is in His Heart and His Grace. We are too weak to do it our selves. We must trust in Him

In Him is the end of violence, anger, resentment, pain and suffering. It cannot be found anywhere else.


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Father John Higgins

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