Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Offsite Post: ‘Tragedy on I-55; Memento Mori’


Living in the hurly burly of a fallen world, it is easy for us to lose our focus on what is most important.  Very easy. 

Inevitably, though, something will befall us to shake us out of our day-dreaming.  We got one of those events on Monday morning, 23 October, in Louisiana, as a vehicle pileup in dense fog along I-55 in St. John the Baptist Parish killed at least seven people and wounded more than two dozen others, according to La. State Police.  At least 158 vehicles were involved.

At times like this, all the illusions and distractions that have occupied our attention get stripped away, and we are left looking at reality in all its cold nakedness.  And because of our heedlessness, this stripping away, this mini-apocalypse, is quite painful and disconcerting.

What can we as Louisianans do in the wake of such a tragedy to heal the wounds of our souls and to re-orient ourselves in the proper direction?

One of the primary things is to remember the ultimate importance of the Resurrection of Christ.  A Patriarch of the Orthodox Christians in Serbia, Bishop Pavle, a holy man of our time (reposed in 2009), says in an Easter sermon,

If there is no Resurrection, then man is the most lamentable creature “in all the worlds,” a slave of “nature,” an object with which nature plays by deceiving him with a little life, just so in the end she can show him to be utterly nothing.  If Christ is not risen and has not conquered death, then there is no life—there remains only absurdity and an unsatisfied hunger for life and love.


 . . . Faith in the Resurrection, and the experience of the beauty and joy of life that accompanies this faith, is the most radiant jewel of the human spirit, the priceless treasure deposited in the hidden places of human life.  It shines forth with divine power, giving man the strength to constantly love anew and to create for eternity.  To deprive man of this treasure would mean to abandon him to senselessness and the darkness of nothingness.  To leave a person without faith in the Resurrection is equivalent to murder, for it means to render him meaningless, and thereby dehumanize him (‘A Paschal Sermon Given by Patriarch Pavle of Blessed Memory in the Year 2002,’ The Orthodox Word, No. 269, Nov.-Dec. 2009, St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, Platina, Cal., pgs. 282, 283).

However, many in the younger generations seem to think that Christianity is moribund and old hat, that it is time to move on to other religions and techniques that offer different, more exciting spiritual experiences:  transcendental meditation, psychedelic drugs, etc.  Patriarch Pavle answers this as well in his Easter sermon:

The Resurrection of Christ is “the only thing new under the sun” because it has broken the monotony of the endless cycle of birth and death.  This is why everything in the Church breathes the youthfulness of Christ’s life.  Sprinkled with His grace, the Church has always been kept fresh and new by the Holy Spirit through every epoch and turn of history.  . . .  And in sanctifying and renewing everything in every age, it is always contemporary and always young.  The youthfulness of the Church, the “Bride of Christ,” is found in the fact that it is the eternal Spring of the Spirit, the eternal budding forth of new Life (Ibid., p. 284).

When we have drawn close once again to the Source of Life and Resurrection, to radiant and healing Love – that is, to Christ in His Church – we will be able to do a second thing to heal the scars of this calamity:  pray.  Prayers for those who suffered harm and survived, and prayers for the departed who left this life suddenly, without time to properly prepare for death:

 . . .

The rest is at https://thehayride.com/2023/10/garlington-tragedy-on-i-55-memento-mori/.


Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð, unworthy though we are!

Anathema to the Union!

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