The Lord gave me an inspiration on the morning of September 11. We had gathered around the seminary security desk, watching the one tv in the building. Right after the first tower came down, I thought to myself: You shouldn’t just stand here. Go into the chapel and pray to the guardian angels of everyone who just died.
There is a realm in which guns can do no harm. That realm is invisible to our eyes now. But countless pure spirits live in that heaven of peace. They, our truest friends, will only what is good. And they understand things like why innocent people wind-up killed for no reason. The wisdom of the angels penetrates mysteries that look impenetrably dark and terrifying to us.
Now, something else happened yesterday, which I want to mention. The Archbishop of Los Angeles preached in Washington, addressing some justices of the Supreme Court, some members of Congress, and other officials.
Archbishop Gomez presides over the Church in the city named for the holy angels, the largest diocese in the US. Who founded that diocese, and the whole Church of California? St. Junipero Serra, of course. (That’s another memory for me: concelebrating with Pope Francis at Fr. Serra’s canonization Mass, two years and one week ago.)
In his homily yesterday, Archbishop Gomez reminded everyone how Father Serra wrote a Bill of Rights for the native Indians of California. He wrote it before Thomas Jefferson and Co. wrote the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights in Philadelphia.
Then Archbishop Gomez undertook to explain something that I myself had wondered about. Why did Pope Francis canonize Fr. Junipero in Washington, D.C.? Seems a little odd, since the saint never set foot on the east coast of the US. He’s the patron saint of California, after all. Why not canonize him in California?
But Archbishop Gomez explained Pope Francis’ reason. The Pope thinks that all Americans should revere Fr. Serra as one of the official Founding Fathers of the USA, right alongside George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
On a terribly sad day for our country, let’s remember: our nation began not with political struggle or material greed. It didn’t begin with strife and violence. It began with faith in God. Archbishop Gomez pointed-out yesterday: The Founding Fathers of the USA believed the revelation of Christ so profoundly, they regarded it as “self-evident.” Every human life is sacred and has a purpose. To quote Archbishop Gomez, explaining the fundamental idea of America:
Before God made the sun and the moon, before he placed the first star in the sky or started to fill the oceans with water — before the foundation of the world — God knew your name and my name. And he had a plan of love for our lives.
This is the Gospel, revealed to our minds by the ministry of angels. Not sure it really is “self-evident” to mankind. But it certainly is self-evident to all the guardian angels of mankind.
It’s hard to imagine anything more crushing to the hope and love of a nation than for one of our citizens to set up machine guns in a tall building in one of our big cities, and then randomly mow down his fellow countrymen in a crowd below.
This is going to take us a while to deal with. May our angels help us. And may the angels of the dead in Las Vegas carry their souls to heaven.