In the Gospel reading today, we hear a very fitting line for 9/11: “A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil.”
Today, we remember with incredible sadness the events of 20 years ago, where evil took so many lives.
That day, and on every anniversary since, the people of this country have mourned as one. The tangible evidence of evil and hatred took root in our hearts that day, leaving us shaken and unable to forget what happens when evil rules.
But evil doesn’t have to have the last word. Nor does it have to rule us.
There were so many heroes that day—too many to count. But we thank God for them. And we know that we must focus on their actions as examples of what humanity is capable of rather than on the wicked actions of terrorists.
Through tears of grief, many of us found that we could lean on our families, lean on each other, and lean on God. We found that we didn’t want to allow evil to take hold. And we found that we can create good from something horrific.
So we take action to make today a brighter day because of the heroes. We make the world—or our small part of it—kinder so that we honor them and their sacrifice.
And we hope that this day becomes so much more than a remembrance of evil. We hope that it becomes a celebration of the people we lost that day and a celebration of the heroic acts of so many. And we hope that it serves as a reminder that life is short, that life is precious, and that God wants us to shine forth His goodness no matter what happens in life.
This day has become bittersweet in my family, for it is also my dad’s birthday. But since that day in 2001, I get the feeling that he doesn’t like to celebrate. Maybe he thinks: How can I be happy on the day something horrible happened?
I’m sure that is the feeling of anyone who remembers that day and who also shares a birthday today. It’s only natural to think that.
But we cannot allow the hatred of terrorists to outshine the life and love of people in our families. The celebration of someone’s birth is a tremendous blessing. And if we allow evil to take over a day so special, then the terrorists truly are winning.
So as we reflect on this tragic day, let us remember that a store of goodness produces good. Let us be that goodness—to our families, to our coworkers, to strangers, and even to people we don’t like—so that it can spring forth and bless the world around us.
And let us never forget to celebrate the lives of the people we love!
Susan Ciancio has a BA in psychology and a BA in sociology from the University of Notre Dame, with an MA in liberal studies from Indiana University. For the past 17 years, she has worked as a professional editor and writer, editing both fiction and nonfiction books, magazine articles, blogs, educational lessons, professional materials and website content. Eleven of those years have been in the pro-life sector. Currently Susan freelances and writes weekly for HLI, edits for American Life League, and is the editor of Celebrate Life Magazine. She also serves as executive editor for the Culture of Life Studies Program-an educational nonprofit program for K-12 students.
Feature Image Credit: Exe Lobiaza, https://www.cathopic.com/photo/8953-devocion