The news is full of violence. It is hard not to become desensitized to the terrible ways humans treat humans. A recent story that really tore at my heart was the stabbing of a 12-year-old girl by two of her friends of the same age.
The two girls, Morgan and Anissa, say they plotted the murder because they were mesmerized by a ghoulish character called Slender Man who appears in horror stories on a site called Creepypasta and in memes all over the Internet. The girls believed the demonic character was real and plotted to kill one of their friends in homage to him so that they could become his followers. So Morgan and Anissa lured a classmate into a park and stabbed her 19 times. Thankfully it looks like the young girl will survive the attack.
All over the Internet, people are hypothesizing about what caused this tragic event. Are the girls mentally ill? Are they psychopaths? I am not sure anyone will ever have satisfactory answers. However, I could not help but be struck by the reminder of the reality of evil that is present in this incident. It is one reason that I am glad to see Pope Francis making so many references to Satan’s existence and influence today.
Aside from the natural circumstances coupled with sin that lead to tragic situations like this, there is also the reality of evil influences in our lives. Satan takes all circumstances and tries to bring out of them the moral worst-case scenario. This is one case where it seems evil won the day, although God, in keeping with his nature and his power, will bring good from this evil situation.
The question that I am always left with when reading about these tragic stories is: What can I do?
Here are some ideas:
- Donate to the
- Pray for the victim and her family, for their psychological recovery as well as the victim’s physical recovery.
- Pray for Anissa, Morgan and their grieving parents. Pray that justice will be done but that the girls will also receive the help they so obviously need.
- If you are a parent, godparent, or responsible adult with children in your life, keep track of their Internet usage, talk to them about their interests and pray for them often! (The St. Michael prayer every day would be a good one.)
- Live in reparation for the evil that is present in media. This is part of the charism of my religious order. The Daughters of St. Paul promote good media and live in reparation for bad media. But this isn’t only for nuns. It is something that we all can do. Offer sacrifices and penance for the effects that bad media can have on our children and society at large.
Sometimes it can seem like the bad in the media and in the world is a deluge whereas the good is just a few small raindrops. But the truth is that our faith is rooted in the power of Jesus who was born in a manger and died on a cross. Our little attempts to bring good into the world of media and into society have the power to reap huge harvests.
Evil always looks overwhelming, just as it did on the day Jesus died on the cross. But it never wins.
Peace to all of you.