Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Pslam 37:1 [KJV]But not soon enough! [This was the first psalm from today's Office of Reading, the Feast of St. Benedict.]
I am still numb from shock at what has transpired in my beloved Bombay. Bombay is in my bones. This is heartbreaking. Like having something ripped out of your soul. And, oh Lord! I'm so angry!
I recall that spring day back in 1993 with crystal clarity. We were leaving college, and I looked up to the left and saw a plume of black smoke darkening the sky, from th Stock Exchange. Ambulances and fire engines screaming up Mahapalika Marg. The gaping hole in the Air India building. The crater at Century Bazaar. It's what immediately came to mind when I first heard about 9/11. And Madrid. And London. It's etched in the brain, hard-wired. Heart beat increasing. Adrenalin pumping. This is terror. This is the power of evil. An ordinary day stained red. Life twisted and broken and shattered.
The phone networks have eased up a bit. I finally got through to a friend in Pune who'd heard from mutual friends in Bombay. And I talked to some people directly. Pretty much all the people I know in the City are fine. Two very good friends normally ride the train home from work. One was still at work (with a hellish commute home. The Western line is down. The roads must be clogged), the other had ridden to work on his bike. The few I couldn't get a hold of were South Bombayites, unlikely to have been on suburban trains in the western suburbs. Not so the 135+ others.
A friend in the States emailed me with some stellar advice. Turn off the TV. Calm down. I'm going to say a rosary at Noon EDT. Will you join me? And so I did. A powerful, transcontinental prayer, walking down Calvary again with the Lord. The agony. The scourging. The crowning with thorns. Carrying the cross. The Crucifixion. "Fret not! Evil has been conquered!" Oh Lord, help us believe!
How ironic that I just finalized plans to visit Bombay this coming weekend, to spend some time with friends, and meet up with some that I haven't yet been able to. Booked the tickets just this afternoon! Now, more than ever, I want go and be there with the other Mumbaikars living through this nightmare.
Thanks to all from the States who've emailed or sent Instant Messages. I'm so grateful for this modern technology, which lets one stay so connected over the distances. [And not just that. SMS (i.e. text messaging) and blogs have been providing some superb humanitarian assistance. Check out Mumbaihelp for instance.]
As to the inevitable questions -- who's responsible? Who did this? I find I can't think politics just right yet. It's too tender.
How is it possible to commit acts of such savage cruelty? The human heart has depths from which schemes of unheard-of ferocity sometimes emerge, capable of destroying in a moment the normal daily life of a people. But faith comes to our aid at these times when words seem to fail. Christ’s word is the only one that can give a response to the questions which trouble our spirit. Even if the forces of darkness appear to prevail, those who believe in God know that evil and death do not have the final say. Christian hope is based on this truth; at this time our prayerful trust draws strength from it. -- Pope John Paul II, General Audience, September 12, 2001.------
Times of India
Vantage Point: Chronology of the blasts
Links galore at Pajamas Media.