It is heartbreaking and beyond words to describe the sadness that we feel for the Richard family and families of the other deceased and injured people in Massachusetts. The Richards, a middle-class family from Dorchester, Mass., who attended St. Ann Parish, were terrorized and forever wounded by a bomb detonated by yet-unknown assailants. It’s beyond our comprehension to understand the reasons behind such lunatic behavior.
As sad and as confounding as it is to come to grips with such evil in our society, we must not lose sight of the goodness in our midst. Goodness such as the first responders who undoubtedly saved many lives of other bombing victims along the streets of downtown Boston. Hundreds of law enforcement officers and medical responders, on site to assist marathoners, turned into guardian angels, literally putting their lives in danger to save others.
A photo of Martin Richard is making the rounds on Facebook and other websites. It shows Martin holding up a blue poster with a handwritten message scribbled in color markers: “No more hurting people. Peace.”
Martin’s prophetic message is one for all of us to remember. While we cannot control the actions of other people, we can make a difference in the lives of those around us. We can reach out to people in need, offer a listening ear, a hand to hold and warm embraces. Every day, someone faces a challenge: a serious illness, death in the family or loss of job that brings about mental and physical fatigue.
By taking Martin’s message to heart — no more hurting people — we can bring peace to their lives.
Blessed Mother Teresa once offered a salient message on the challenge of peace.
“Let us not use bombs and guns to overcome the world,” she said. “Let us use love and compassion. Peace begins with a smile. Smile five times a day at someone you don’t really want to smile at; do it for peace.”
Anger, retribution and resentment are human emotions, but they should not define us. Instead, as Mother Teresa instructed, we must “radiate the peace of God … and extinguish in the world and in the hearts of all men all hatred.”
Peace begins at home, inside our hearts. Let’s find a way to honor Martin and the other bombing victims by honoring his wish: No more hurting people.