Op-ed submission: After the shooting, a question worth asking

Mark Zaegel | Campus Minister, Catholic Student Center

One of the central tenets of the Christian faith is that, in this life and in the next, suffering and death are always followed by resurrection and new life. Suffering never has the final word. In the end, good triumphs over evil. Love triumphs over hate. Faith, hope and love remain.

When violence occurs, it affects people differently. On Wednesday, when gunfire rang out, some in the Washington University community were far away, while others I know were near the social work school on the Forsyth Boulevard sidewalk and could see gunfire and could, in their words, “feel the bullets whizzing by.” Some went about the rest of their Wednesday as normal, while others were very shaken up. People respond differently, and that is certainly OK. But one question remains the same for all of us: “How will I allow this to make me a more loving person?”

Yes, my religious tradition teaches that it is the way of all things in life for at least some measure of goodness to relentlessly emerge from bad situations. But it requires my participation too. How will I let this incident affect me? How will I participate in the process of goodness triumphing and new life emerging? 

In moments like these, there’s a certain feeling of “we’re all in this together.” So maybe I will allow this day to help me be just a little bit kinder to others who are in this life with me too. Maybe I strive to look at people a little differently, seeing not just bodies, but seeing people’s hearts and souls. Some on Facebook suggested to tell someone that you love them today. Or maybe I simply take some time to pause and think and be a little extra grateful.

When violence happens and people have reason to be shaken up or afraid or angry, goodness is always eagerly waiting to emerge and triumph. How will you be a part of that? How will you allow this to make you a more loving person?

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