I find it strange to be writing to you in the week after the events in Manchester, and more killings in Egypt, and on a feast day of one of the most famous martyr saints of the Church. In fact, the entire week was filled with instances of violence and innocents’ death, successively in Baghdad, Manchester, Marawi, Yemen, Egypt and Afghanistan.
In God’s eyes, every one of these lives is equally precious, be they Christian, Muslim, humanist or agnostic. For we are each of us made in the image of God, and each of infinite value. It is inevitable that we should mourn the loss of those closest to us: the son of a friend of my mother-in-law is the closest tie I have to events in Manchester so far. However, we cannot forget any of the lives lost when it comes to our prayers, for humanity must stand together: in solidarity with the bereaved, and in repudiation of any violence which claims God as its inspiration or author. The motto which Newman chose from Augustine was “heart speaks to the heart (cor ad cor loquitur)”, and this can only be such a time, when our heart reaches out to those killed, harmed, maimed, or devastated; when our hearts cry out with the martyrs to the throne of God beseeching his mercy upon our world.
What begins in the heart must stir up the spirit and strengthen the will, calling us all to be actors in building solidarity, in reinforcing the ties that hold us all together, to witness that Good is stronger than evil; love is stronger than hate; light is stronger than darkness; life is stronger than death. Victory is ours, through him who loves us. I trust that we can all find practical ways to express this belief in our communities, and that we will be known as advocates for it: and our hope is not in vain, for so the resurrection of Christ teaches us.