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Monday, December 27, 2004

Tidal Wave

I don't even know how to begin to write about a tsunami that kills 20,000 people. One person, two people, we can read about and hurt. Ten people, and we can be shocked. But how do you grieve for a number as large as 20,000? It's difficult even to conceptualize.

But that's the number I heard on the radio when I woke up this morning. An earthquake hit deep in the Indian Ocean, and an hour later tsunamis began striking Asian coasts, erasing entire towns. It's hard to "feel" a calamity of that magnitude. What the victims need right now, though, is not our feelings but our help.

"From the Vatican, Pope John Paul II led appeals for aid for victims, and the 25-nation European Union promised to quickly deliver three million euros." I can't help noticing that several of the countries hardest hit have been, for the past few years, terrorizing and torturing Catholics. The Holy Father's appeal really means something. This is what it means to be a Christian; this is what it means to love. Not to "feel" for the victims, but to help them. Even those who have treated our brothers as enemies.

St. John of the Cross said "Where there is no love, put love, and there you will draw out love." Let us then follow our Holy Father in offering whatever we can to help the victims of this terrible catastrophe. And in the process, let us not forget to learn the lesson in the Pope's appeal.