From Jan. 22-27, hundreds of thousands of young people from around the world attended…
‘Show us a better way’
“I’ve seen wickedness.” Samuel, my Uber driver, described a recent acid attack he read about back in his native Cameroon, recalling all kinds of flashbacks. He talked about some of the unspeakable violence the government there has been known to inflict on its people. He talked about how earlier in the month there was an assassination attempt on an archbishop for criticizing the government.
“I said in my prayer, like I have many times before: ‘Lord, show us a better way.’
“I do not lose faith because I know God is great,” he added.
“God is great and still calls us to himself. God is great and has another way. One that doesn’t make me hate for what I’ve seen. God is great and still calls priests to give their lives. They really do give everything. We must pray for them.”
Samuel also had a sense of God’s mercy and justice. We talked about tyrants and school shootings. We talked about addiction and mental illness and despair.
“God gives a long road to everybody to repent. God gives enough room to change. God gives you the grace to think. If you decide to be useless, it is you, and you will pay for it. He gave you the choice,” he said, adding, “And for those who need help, we must be help. God does not leave us here alone. But many people feel alone, except for a bottle or pill or desperate act.”
He went on, “I don’t wake up in the morning without giving thanks to God, for making me be able to get up and breath oxygen. I don’t get back at the end of the day without thanking him. Without him, I’m nothing. With all the things that are happening, I give thanks to God. I know for certain he does not fail those who believe. Things have happened in my life where I have seen his power.”
The 71-year-old, who has raised four boys here, including one in the Air Force, described how he faces severe medical problems that had his doctors presuming he would never walk again a few years back. He announced with confidence: “In a mysterious way, God heals me, he protects me, he directs me and I thank him.”
His Sunday sermon — as he called it, admitting he had gotten carried away — was occasioned by his thanksgiving for the news of a new priest ordained — nine, actually, the day before, for the Dominicans’ Province of St. Joseph — and at his gratitude for every day of his life.
“The Word of God remains the Word of God, but we need those younger priests who have a new and true love for the Word and can preach it with freshness,” he said.
“The Church has done great things in the world.” He believes God provides the Church and the world with new priests because the world needs hope, the world needs to see Him in the world. And these new priests who have seen the evil of scandal and martyrdom in the last century and are eager to bear witness to the Truth.
“Hold the cross and look forward” was his advice to the new priest and the rest of us.
“Pain causes anger and anger causes conflict and conflict causes death,” he said at another point, talking about other controversial topics.
I couldn’t help but think of these words in the wake of the latest school shooting in Texas. There’s a pain and wickedness running amuck in each of these incidents. And most of our commentary seems to miss the mark. We talk about policy changes. We need heart transplants. We need healing. We need wisdom. We need prayer. We need Christians dedicated to God’s Word. Everyday. With joy and gratitude in all its mystery.
Kathryn Jean Lopez is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, editor-at-large of National Review, and co-author of “How to Defend the Faith Without Raising Your Voice” (OSV, $17.95).