NEW YORK, SEPT. 12, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Although it wasn't easy to see in the moment, the side of darkness did not prevail in New York, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 11, 2001, says the Archbishop of New York.
Archbishop Timothy Dolan, speaking at the memorial Mass in St. Patrick's Cathedral for the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, affirmed that the reality is that God had the last word.
"There is an intense battle that is being waged in the human heart," the archbishop began. "It’s that battle, that war, that is going on in the human soul that gives rise to all the violence, and battles and wars that we see outside. You and I are aware of that tension deep within.
"It’s a battle between sin and grace, between darkness and light. It’s a war where evil is against good, where death is versus life, lies versus truth, pride against humility, selfishness against selflessness, revenge versus mercy, hate versus love, Satan versus Almighty God."
"Now a decade ago," he continued, "at about this very moment, throughout the United States, throughout the world, and especially in this our beloved community, it seemed that the side of darkness had conquered, as innocent people perished, as valiant rescuers rushed to their aid, as families were fractured, and as a nation seemed on the ground.
"And yet what I propose at our Mass this Sunday morning, on this tenth anniversary of that day, is that as a matter of fact the side of light actually triumphed, as temptations to despair, fearful panic, revenge, and dread gave way to such things as rescue, recovery, rebuilding, outreach, and resilience.
"The side of the angels, not of the demons, conquered. Good Friday became Easter Sunday. And once again God has the last word."
"Perhaps what gives us most consolation would be our young people, our children," Archbishop Dolan added. He noted the numbers of children of firefighters who lost their fathers in 9/11, and who now want to become firefighters and rescue workers. The prelate also mention one young man whose father died in 9/11, and who is studying to become a priest.
"They are living examples of the fact that God alone has the last word," he said.
Archbishop Dolan and his predecessor, Cardinal Edward Egan, also presided at a Mass in the afternoon at St. Peter's Church, located a block from the World Trade Center site. The Church had been damaged on 9/11 from the debris falling from the towers.
Cardinal Egan delivered the homily, noting that 10 years ago, "We were taken by surprise. We were shocked. We were wounded. We were grievously wounded. Evil had had its moment of triumph in Lower Manhattan."
"This is, therefore, an anniversary that stings and sears the soul," he said. "It thrusts us back into an experience of infamy such as none of us would ever have imagined.
"Thousands of good and decent citizens of Greater New York were brutally murdered. An ugly chasm was dug into the heart of our City; and in the hearts of countless mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, wives and husbands, children and grandchildren, friends and co-workers, there even now aches the nagging pain of loss for persons dearly loved and sorely needed."
"All the same," the cardinal continued, "from the crime of 9/11, we have learned a powerful lesson that we must never let slip from our memories. It is simply this. When truly challenged, the best of us forget ourselves and become men and women for others, men and women who march into harm’s way for others, men and women who are even willing to give up their lives for others."
He explained: "In a bustling, competitive metropolis like ours, the citizenry can become quite self-absorbed. 'If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere,' we sing; and 'making it' is understood to require focus -- focus largely on ourselves.
"Thus, in our strivings and struggles, we can seem to be a people insensitive to the needs of others, a people who take little note of the weak, the frightened, and the hurting. And this is what many thought of us, until that dreadful morning when the terrorists came to do us harm."
"Then we learned -- perhaps even to our own surprise -- that within the hearts of the best of us there resides a goodness that is incredibly selfless," said Cardinal Egan. "We learned that, when summoned by great events, we become in great numbers remarkably committed to the well-being of others, even total strangers. We become a strong people, a courageous people, a noble people – a people for others."
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On ZENIT's Web page:
Text of Archbishop Dolan's homily: www.zenit.org/article-33416?l=english
Text of Cardinal Egan's homily: www.zenit.org/article-33415?l=english