Tuesday, April 26, 2011

African Suffering

After the turmoil began in the Ivory Coast earlier this month, I started another icon of the Black Madonna, similar to the piece I painted for Haiti.  I didn't paint during Holy Week however, so I need to resume the work soon.  The Blessed Virgin is our help and model in the darkness, and so I was especially consoled to come across the story of a solar phenomenon which excited residents in Abidjan, Ivory Coast last Wednesday.  An image of the Blessed Virgin appeared in the sky:
A bizarre day time phenomena in the sky event occurred in Africa’s Ivory Coast in Abidjan on Wednesday, April 20, 2011. The event witnessed by ‘thousands’ of hysterical residents, the cell phone video footage aired by Afrika-United TV.  [...] at approximately ’1:30 in the video you can begin to see something similar to a woman dressed in white with a blue blanket, floating near the trees.’  - Story
Imagine worrying about whose feet were going to get washed on Holy Thursday.
If you weren't paying attention, you may not have noticed that an unspeakable mass slaughter of innocent men, women, and children took place in that part of the world.

News elsewhere...
More than 500 Nigerians were killed this week in post-election violence. Most of the violence occurred in the Muslim north when it emerged that Goodluck Jonathan, a southern Christian – had defeated a Muslim candidate.  Story here.

Blood and water flowing forth from the side of Christ, I trust in you.


  1. I'm not quite sure what to make of your comment "Imagine worrying about whose feet were going to get washed on Holy Thursday." I'm a new reader on your blog, but I know that you think Fr. Z and his commenters are silly and foolish and probably also self-absorbed sometimes. That's what you're referring to, isn't it? How silly, to worry about minor, once-a-year liturgical blunders when people are being slaughtered.

    I won't defend Fr. Z or try to read what is in his heart--it isn't my place to do so. For myself, my concern for liturgical matters doesn't preclude my concern for people who are poor, in pain, alone, oppressed, and dying across the world. It's just easier to talk about liturgical stuff. It's easier to blog about the flowers in my backyard and my friend who lost his job. It's easier to be angry about bad sacred music than about dictators and famines and revolutions. That doesn't mean I don't pray for them, or that I am indifferent to or ignorant of human suffering.

    The little liturgical and catechetical disobediences that make me angry are nowhere near as significant as mass murder. But those little disobediences, practiced often, start to add up to something bigger. It's like sin: you start with some little venial sins, and they dull your conscience, and when you no longer pay heed to the venial sins, you suddenly find yourself in mortal sin, cutting yourself off from grace. Those insignificant little disobediences, over time, ignored, can lead to awfully big disobediences to the Church and the magisterium--wrongs that cost souls.

    I will keep the souls of the massacred Nigerians in my prayers.

  2. Thank you for reminding me that the Blessed Virgin is our help in these dark times. The suffering of the innocent and persecuted around the world just doesn't seem to capture the attention of many.

  3. My Black Madonna that you sent me hangs over my bed. It is, next to some of the OL of Akita renderings, my favorite image of Our Lady. Thank you again, buddy.

    fwiw, I agree with your comments here.

  4. Jane - thanks for commenting and reading. Welcome - not many people stick around BTW.

    My comment is what it is - it doesn't necessarily refer to Fr. Z - many people worried about the issue last week - it gives them a sense of purpose for their blogs I think. Who had their feet washed last week simply wasn't my focus. I find it is a good discipline - when I can do it - to work to avoid becoming distracted by lturgical inovations and/or how others conduct themselves at Mass.

  5. Re: the Ivory Coast..... "Shockingly, under the watchful eyes of the United Nations, an unspeakable mass slaughter of innocent men, women, and children took place in that part of the world."

    .....the watchful eyes of the United Nations...?? watchful eyes? the same watchful eyes of the United Nations "watching" the Hutu slaughter of an estimated 800,000 Tutsis in the Rwandan genocide? Those watchful eyes?

    Re: Nigeria.....More than 500 Nigerians were killed this week in post-election violence.

    "Most of the victims were Christians murdered after the Muslim candidate lost the election this month. Governorship elections are scheduled for Tuesday."

    TWO groups who matter little on the world's stage:

    blacks who are killed by blacks


    Christians who are killed by anyone

    Lord G*d Almighty have mercy on us.

    Mary, Queen of Africa, ora pro nobis
    St Patrick, Patron of Nigeria, ora pro nobis

    The Exile


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