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Saints Michael and Gudula, Pray for Brussels


Sarah Stierch/Flickr

Elizabeth Scalia - published on 03/22/16

The story is still unfolding and news is still breaking; we have recourse to the Communion of Saints

Gunshots, explosions and death at the airport; reported explosions at three metro stations, as of this moment. “We have been expecting something spectacular,” a female reporter says, “after the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, in Brussels.”

An attack on the heart of Europe.

All public transportation is closed; a great, beautiful city is in lockdown.

As the story unfolds — the morning’s evil may not yet be finished — let us ask the two patrons of Brussels, St. Michael and St. Gudula, to pray for the afflicted and for a city under siege.

Reports that more bombs were found at the airport remains unconfirmed, but if true, then things could have been much worse. It is not yet known whether this attack comes at the hands of those responsible for the attack in Paris, just four months ago. If it is the same group, that would be troublingly significant, as I don’t think any organization has managed two strikes, in close succession, in the West.

In the Office of Readings, this morning, we are reminded that we are “surrounded by this cloud of witnesses …” (Heb. 12:1), so let us call upon them for their prayers and consolation, including St. Benedict of Nursia and St. Therese of Lisieux, patrons of Europe, and our most powerful intercessor, the Blessed Virgin, Mary.

We also read, in our Office, Psalm 37:

Do not fret because of the wicked;
do not envy those who do evil:
for they wither quickly like grass
and fade like the green of the fields.

How can we doubt this, most especially in Holy Week, when we once again see the constant reality of Christ, who drew upon himself all manner of evil and injustice, and then defeated it for our sake. Death has no power in the light of the risen Christ. That doesn’t mean things are not serious; it does mean that we remain “ready with Christ,” confident that, in the end, good triumphs because it has.

A little longer — and the wicked shall have gone.
Look at his place; he is not there.
But the humble shall own the land
and enjoy the fullness of peace.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen.

A statement from the Bishops of Belgium: “The bishops of Belgium are appalled to learn of the attack at Zaventem airport and in the center of Brussels. They share the anguish of thousands of travelers and their families, aviation professionals and the first responders who are once again called to service. They entrust the victims to the prayers of all in this new dramatic situation. Airport chaplains are every day at the service of all and provide the necessary spiritual support. May the whole country live these days with a great sense of civic responsibility.”

Elizabeth Scalia is Editor-in-Chief of Aleteia’s English edition.

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