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A TRIP TO 'GROUND ZERO' AND A REMINDER OF PERPETUAL HELP
By Michael H. Brown (October 17)
I took a trip to "ground zero" yesterday. I took the trip because I wanted to get a spiritual fix on the event and because I wanted to say good-bye to a close friend who is buried somewhere under the South Tower and because I just wanted to see for myself that these structures I had grown up with -- that I had watched built in college, that I had used as a constant directional beacon when I lived in Manhattan -- were really gone.
So I went to New York and I looked up at where the planes had hit, where the face of satan had formed in smoke on September 11, where there had been that incredible fireball that killed my friend and I saw the empty space where once there had been two of the world's tallest buildings.
Now there was only blue sky and the roll of clouds. All around, it was surreal. Except for construction rigs or emergency vehicles, there was no traffic. There was an eerie silence. On the Chase Bank at Broadway and Fulton were the many flyers of missing loved ones and pictures of Jesus and a tabloid story about the Virgin at Lourdes. "It's time for America to pray," was the heading on one flyer from Love Chain Ministries, and across the way and just up a block or two was the old church you have read about, the chapel of St. Paul that somehow didn't collapse while buildings all around shook and shattered or turned into blackened skeletal remnants.
In the background was the lilt from a street violinist playing "America the Beautiful." It was like a funeral dirge. It was a dirge. I was there to say good-bye to my old friend Dan Smith -- I needed closure on that -- and I needed to see what had transpired in what I know was a warning from God. "The world is shaking," said another poster, and this is exactly the verbiage Maria Esperanza (the seer from Venezuela) had used when months ago she prophesied an event that would "shake the world."
It is one of a number of events that will occur as we move from a period of warning to a period of purification. We'll discuss that in coming days.
Near City Hall, at the Church of St. Andrew, I went to Mass for the victims and for Danny and for a city that better learn that this was more than just the act of a terrorist -- for a country that better realize this. In the church, a beautiful building appointed in wood, was a precious statue of Our Lady of Fatima near a larger one of Jesus as the Sacred Heart reaching out.
There were about fifty people at Mass and afterward there was a healing service to dispel the terror and the uncertainty and in front of City Hall on the way out I happened to spot a pamphlet blowing in a gust of litter.
It had the Madonna and Child.
When I picked it up I saw that it was from the Perpetual Help Center in The Bronx.
There on the street. In the litter. Even there. Calling out.
Behold, O Mother of my God, my only hope, behold at your feet a miserable sinner who asks for mercy...
Down a few blocks, the smoke was still rising, the water still poured on the smoldering wreckage (and on the graves of 5,000), the cranes moving debris that in one case formed an incredible cross.
They'll pick up the pieces. This is a massive city. It will build where there is now rubble. But if it shows defiance -- if it goes back to what it was, if it embraces its old way of disdain for all that is spiritual (and this goes too for the country) -- then what happened on September 11 will be looked back at one day as only the opening shot.
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