We hold our children a little tighter when Sandy Hook is in the news. But do we give thought to being kinder to that teenage boy next door? Or help make sure parents can get their adult children the professional help they sometimes desperately need? Or let our sisters or daughters or girlfriends finally mourn the choice we encouraged?
A little less than a half century ago, at the closing of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI explained that the Church proposes to the world the counter-cultural truth that
God is: He actually exists; He lives; He is a person; He is providential, endowed with infinite goodness, and He is not only good in himself, but especially good in regards to us; He is our creator, our truth, our happiness; so much so that when a man tries to fix his mind and heart on God through contemplation he elicits an act of his own spirit which is the most fine and perfect of all; thus even in the modern world, in all fields of human endeavor, we can and should aspire to this contemplative act so that all human activity is raised and perfected in its own order from within.
God does not promise us that evil and injustice won’t happen to us. Both happened to His Son. But we can bear it, if we have faith in Him.
“A love that desires to see God may not have reasonableness on its side, but it is the evidence of filial love.” That comes from a sermon from St. Peter Chrysologus that appeared in the Liturgy of the Hours, the prayer of the Church throughout the day that priests, religious, and many laypeople pray. He talks about “the flame of divine love” enkindling human hearts throughout salvation history, its “intoxication” overflowing “into men’s senses.”
He goes on:
Wounded by love, they longed to look upon God with their bodily eyes. Yet how could our narrow human vision apprehend God, whom the whole world cannot contain? But the law of love is not concerned with what will be, what ought to be, what can be. Love does not reflect; it is unreasonable and knows no moderation. Love refuses to be consoled when its goal proves impossible, despises all hindrances to the attainment of its object.
That love has been seen in Newtown, Conn., where Jenny Hubbard points to the source of her strength. By human standards, it is unreasonable. And that’s the counter-cultural nature of faith. It’s a reality that illuminates the clouds and debris here.
Jenny Hubbard gives us something that no legislation can ever provide: a blessed expectation. We can rise above torment. She has the consoling peace of one who has real faith. She isn’t a parent and wife and neighbor or friend only for her sake or even for the sake of the other, but because she desperately wants to see the face of God because she knows that’s what she was made for. In her witness, she helps the nominally faithful want what she has, desire what she desires, find the peace she has through a graceful union with her Catherine.
“Before Mass the Sunday after the shooting,” Father Cameron recalls, “someone suggested that Christmas should be canceled that year.” He writes: “But what but Christmas could save us from such crushing sorrow and rescue us from evil? Only the tender presence of the Son of God become flesh in the Incarnation.”
In the witness of her suffering and testimony to faith, Jenny Hubbard gives us the greatest gift.
— Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online and a founding director of Catholic Voices USA.