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If you're crying over the tragedy in Newton, CT

alec vanderboom

Please, please be gentle with yourself.

You may be a highly sensitive person with a warm and generous heart. I'm actually very careful now about the news I watch or read because I have such a long history of spending days in aching sadness after a national or international tragedy. Your empathy is a gift--and gifts are precious things that need delicate care.

My very caring priest gave his homily on Joyful Sunday with a reminder that this pain is for a purpose. He said the rose symbolizes the joy "breaks through" the violet of suffering. I instantly thought about the pain of infertility. The pain of infertility of a Catholic couple is so awful, but it is joyful in some inexplicable way because it's "pain that is going somewhere."

Do not get stuck in the awfulness of this sin. The Devil targets children. Children are holy. Children are powerful. Children convert hearts. Jesus tells us in Scripture that little children's angels "are face to face with God always."

Unlike the world that tells us that little children are sweet, fluffy, and harmless--I'm here to tell you my kids say holy stuff that is sometimes way up there with some of the powerful stuff written by the Saints. A clean heart sees God! A child who is baptized--is a part of the Church and can have way more influence in her family than a hundred homilies by a favorite Archbishop.

We would be horribly sad if a group of Religious Sisters were suddenly shot in rural South America. We would be sad, but we wouldn't be "stunned." We wouldn't lose our faith in God.

Do not lose your faith in God. People who are close to Christ suffer in this world. Jon of the Cross got thrown into prison--because he had a powerful heart. We are not yet into a perfect world when righteousness and justice will kiss each other. That day won't happen until  Christ's second coming.

What can you do--you can pray. And you can celebrate a hero, like Victoria Soto. And you can live your life courageously!

There is a spiritual war going on. This is a terrible battle--this national tragedy is right up there with the famous battles of WWII--but this is not end. We are promised victory--on earth and in heaven--because Christ fights with us and within us.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Patron of the United State of America, pray for us.