Short essays written for the La Jolla Veteran's Hospital newsletter in La Jolla, California
It was Patriot's Day 2013 in Massachusetts. Few around the world are now unaware that the Boston Marathon was run that day. Few are also now unaware that the new Boston Massacre occurred on that day as well. On April 15, 2013 (Patriot's Day), I was writing on my computer at the time and getting 'pop-up' Breaking News alerts of 'an explosion in Boston.' As an example of how common, and thus de-sensitized, I think many of us, including myself, have become to such news alerts, I paid it little attention. As per my work routine, at 4:00 PM CA time I turned on TV News while sorting my email. I immediately saw, once again, that the world as many of us have come to know it was, once again, radically changed.
I want to take the lead from a seminarian who was interviewed by one of the national networks, (I do not recall which network as I was constantly flipping news channels), whose witness reminded that any experience can be made a Godly one if it is tied to prayer. The seminarian and his wife were actually caught in the cross-fire that killed one of the alleged perpetrators: the older brother. Bullets were flying around them. They used the time to pray to God for deliverance during this "nightmare."
We can think of all the responders who came to the aid of the many injured. If their service was done with a pure heart and Godly spirit, then it became a channel of spiritual and psychological healing for all involved. We can also reflect on the great endurance of the victims, their family and friends, the heroic law enforcement officers [let me mention the many from far away states] and the people of Boston, who were on lockdown and living in a state of fear. I believe the apt slogan that has emerged from those affected is "Boston Strong."
It would be so easy to merely focus on the nefarious terrorist deeds of the alleged perpetrators. However, we should look at the total picture. There were millions of people in Boston, in MA, in nearby states and in foreign countries who were touched by this incident to the core of their hearts. Many, as we saw on the TV news, performed extraordinary acts of service. Some Marathon runners themselves turned to help the injured. The medical personnel that were on the finish line, near where the explosions occurred also reacted immediately. Of course, the tenacity of the police: local, state, federal and international is above and beyond adequate description. Many of us, like the seminarian couple, could only pray - but how important prayer is. How many prayers were lifted to God on the behalf of the victims and all who were touched by them and attended to them? Only God knows, but indeed, the world needs such healing. Even ordinary people can, at the very least, pray during extraordinary calamitous times.
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V. Rev. Fr. George Morelli Ph.D. is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and Marriage and Family Therapist.
He is the Coordinator of the Chaplaincy and Pastoral Counseling Ministry of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese and Religion Coordinator (and Antiochian Archdiocesan Liaison) of the Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology and Religion.
Fr. Morelli is also Assistant Pastor of St. George's Antiochian Orthodox Church, San Diego, California.
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