Today at Belmont Abbey, we offered prayers for the victims of the tragedy at Virginia Tech. Let us also pray for the killer who, naturally, killed himself before the police could oblige him.
People will shake their heads about this, muttering "crazy" and wondering why the killer hadn't "got help" before it was too late. He probably had no intention of coming out alive; his goal seemed to have been to take as many as possible with him. But whether he was mentally ill or just twisted by rage out of all conscience, I cannot help seeing this sort of thing, which happens periodically in our country, as a sad reminder of the reality of sin in what has increasingly become a culture of death. To me, the only surprising thing is that it doesn't happen more often.
Amid the headlines and the talk, what will go unnoticed in all but the most Catholic circles is another death, two days ago: that of Audrey Santo. The funeral will take place in Worcester, MA, this Wednesday. Many "paranormal" phenomena occurred around Audrey during her ten years in a coma after nearly drowning in a pool accident. Most will be familiar to the pious: oil suddenly and inexplicably appearing on objects, especially blessed ones; the strong scent of roses without roses in the vicinity; etc. The skeptics have of course taken note, e.g. here and here. Their skepticism is understandable, and they might even be right. But nobody questions the enormous love and devotion of the Santo family for their stricken daughter. It is that, more than anything else, which suggests something supernatural was manifest in this case.
Let us meditate on the contrast.