23 March 2016


Sub Tuum.

Coat of arms of Flanders
This evening after the liturgy I was reflecting on the events earlier today in Belgium. Another group of militants from ISIS carried out yet another attack, again on European soil, making good on their threats. It is easy enough to say that it is a distant thing half a world away and does not impact us directly. Even with the cries of "Je suis Bruxelles," it is easy for it to seem distant as life goes on. Life does indeed go on, as it must. As it happens, though, two of my old schoolmates were there in the middle of it all. One, a physician, helped to treat the wounded. The other tended to the needs of the victims as well. I am proud to see the two school girls I knew in my youth have grown into ladies who did not fail to help others, even in the midst of the chaos of what was nothing less than a combat situation. Their selfless acts and the selfless acts of others stand in stark contrast to the cowardly acts of those who pretend to be soldiers, but strike at the civilian population with an intent to terrorize, demoralize, and destroy order and civilisation.

Continued reflection reminded me of my many ancestors who came from Flanders, once its own state, and now a region of Belgium. Brussels is the Belgian capital and also the Flemish capital. Indeed, the city from which my name comes, Ruddervoorde, is not very far from Brussels. Ruddervoorde translates from Flemish as "Knight's Ford (River Crossing)," which brings to mind the Flemish and Frankish knights, among others, who successfully defended Europe against those who would invade and maraud, terrorizing the local populations. 

During this Holy Week, I request that all the faithful pray a rosary for the people of Belgium and for a final victory against the militants that will not stop in their efforts to bring chaos and destruction to the world.