Phi Beta Cons

An E-mail:

I note the following post from yesterday:
Tucker Carlson had the wisdom to say on MSNBC that there is nothing at the core of the massacre; the acts are senseless and meaningless.It reminds me of Walker Percy’s novel Lancelot (which actually came true to some degree in the making of the film Hurricane). The main character was searching for an answer to the evil with which he and the world are afflicted. When the author has the main character come upon the fact of a man having sex with a teenager, the author informs us through the mind of the main character that there is nothing there. In the book, the Lancelot quest for the answer to moral evil echoes the answer of St. Augustine: Evil is nothingness, evil is a mystery, evil is incomprehensible. One can note the word “diabolical” also: it means “tear apart.” Evil fragments meaning and community. God and the good are “symbolic,” in the sense that they bind communities together with meaning.

My comment:  This post reminded me of something I learned at mass last Sunday.  The reading was from John, the story of “Doubting Thomas.”  When Jesus appears in the locked room where the disciples are, he says “Peace be with you.”  During the homily, our pastor explained that the Hebrew word for “Peace” is “Shalom,” which means “putting back together.”  He talked about how the disciples’ world had been fragmented, blown apart, by the crucifixion of Jesus.   His re-appearance with the word “Peace” literally means a restoration to wholeness, a putting back together of the fragments.  I had never heard this definition of “Peace” or “Shalom” before and made special note of it – – – now, reading the above post, I find I never knew the definition of “diabolical” as to “tear apart.”  It makes sense.  Also, I believe (maybe naively, but still) that God and the good are more than “symbolic.”  If we acknowledge that evil exists, we must also acknowledge that good truly exists.  I sincerely wish “Peace” to the students, faculty and families of Virginia Tech.  May your worlds be made whole.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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