Reflections on Human Goodness and 9-11

by Archimandrite Dionysij Edmunds, MA Th., VF

Slava Isusu Christu!

As I reflect back on the events of September 11, 2001, I have seen many who have asked - Where was God in all of this tragedy? How could a benevolent God allow for such misery to occur?

Hierodeacon Zacharias and I traveled to the site of the World Trade Center on the Sunday following the tragedy and made two subsequent trips. It was here that I began to see just where God was.

First, we must realize that God created humanity with free will. He did not create beings that would be blindly obedient, but allows us the choice to draw near to him or to choose our own way. Evil is merely the absence of God when we have chosen to cut ourselves off from his love by an act of our own will.

This is where the misery of the human condition comes into play. We are all created in the image and likeness of God, as a mirror reflecting him, but when we allow the dust of hatred and enmity to collect upon this mirror, we begin to reflect nothing. Those who committed these tragic incidents had been fueled by this blinding hatred and strife.

Christ was asked about the poor and the suffering and he told us that in this world they would always be, so that the good works of God could be made manifest. Yes, this world is often a valley of tears and sorrow, but there will always be those who are able to express joy and hope even in the midst of our sorrows. This was seen by the countless acts of charity and love by those heroic individuals, many who gave their own lives to aid another.

The Scripture tells us that no greater love can we have but to give our life for another. God can work through people, just as evil can work through them as well. It is a matter of choice, whether we are open to receiving his Grace or not.

I have had the privilege of meeting individuals directly involved in the recovery efforts. My Hierarchs, their Beatitudes, Vladyki Metropolitans Stephan and Alexis and His Eminence, Vladyka Archbishop Michael spent two weeks involved directly in the efforts at Ground Zero. I have come to know of some of the children who lost parents and others who have been scarred by these events. God is there for them too, His presence is known through a tender embrace, shedding a tear with them, and giving hope.

Our Christian faith shows us a God who suffers with his people, who gives his life for others. If we are to be as Christ, this is what we too must become, and indeed there were many Christ like souls who were there on this day that will forever provide us with inspiration.

May God grant rest to the souls of those affected by this tragedy and may he grant comfort, peace and hope to us all.

With prayers and love in Christ God and His Holy Mother,

Archimandrite Dionysij

Father Dionysij is the Heguman of our monastic community in Scranton, PA and the pastor of the Protection of the Mother of God parish community. Father also serves as the Dean of the Eastern Deanery of the Archeparchy of Cleveland. He is involved in many charitable and social ministries throughout the East Coast area and directs the "Rose Garden Foundation" which assists chidren with Asperger's Syndrome. Father Dionysij holds a Masters Degree in Theology from the University of Scranton and is presently completling his doctoral studies.

Rose Garden Foundation.

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