Memorial Day After Mass Shootings

by | Jun 1, 2022 | Formation, Reflections

My feelings have been all over the lot after two mass shootings. The more I learn, the more intense my feelings.

There is the posturing about what should or should not have been done during the crisis. But I can not escape the awareness that we have been here so many times before. Nothing meaningful has been done to reverse the rising tide of violence. The same ineffective solutions are proposed while ignoring solutions that have proven effective in so many other countries.

All this against the backdrop of a holiday we call Memorial Day. Originally it invited serious reflection about those who paid the supreme price for what they believed in our Civil War. The reality today seems more focused on the longed-for beginning of outdoor celebrations and vacations.

The Vincentian Question

Further complicating matters is the fear that, once again, “nobody “will do anything meaningful. “They” ought to do something, anything!

But now am I looking in the mirror and asking myself a highly personal question. We know St. Vincent had the courage to ask “What must, can, I do to change all I see?” What is within my power? In that mirror, I see the only person I can control. So what can I do?

The first thing I can do is take stock. The well-known serenity prayer helps me focus.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

These words help me open my heart in prayer to do what I can and should do!.

 A Vincentian approach to this Memorial Day

Deacon Greg Kandra has shared a prayer that speaks to my heart and gives me words.

Let me share what he wrote in the context of an interfaith prayer service a few days ago. (I have taken the liberty to substitute “I” for “We”, “Me” for “Us.”)

Almighty God,

I have prayed for peace for so long,

I come to again to plead

In this moment of sorrow and anxiety:

Let there be peace.

Help me not only to be an instrument of your peace,

Help me to be an instrument of justice.

Guide me to be a person of compassion.

Of tolerance.

Of understanding.

Make me instrument of hope.

He continues…

At the dawn of time, you called out:

“Let there be light.”

May I now be the light in our dark and desperate world.

Help me to scatter the shadows of fear and mistrust, of anger and hate.

Give me the grace to heal what is broken,

To mend what is torn,

To strengthen what is weak,

And uplift all who feel forgotten, wounded and alone.

Good and generous God, help me continue your creation.

So that I may leave behind a better world,

A world like the one you first dreamed of,

A world of solidarity and peace —

A world renewed by the blazing, fearless light of hope.


So I now ask myself, how I can be

  • peace,
  • justice.
  • hope.

Now I especially pray, help me be a memorial to you and

  • heal what is broken,
  • mend what is torn,
  • strengthen what is weak,
  • uplift all who feel forgotten, wounded, and alone

Isn’t that what Jesus did with the outsiders of his day. He sought them out … and washed their feet. He asks us to do this in memory of him!

This Memorial Day I need to look around me for those who feel forgotten, wounded, and alone.

If we all did that something would change.

What is within your power to do?

Will you commit to do it?

Originally posted on Vincentian Mindwalk