Busted Halo

Caitlin Kennell Kim, seminary grad, baby wrangler, ordinary radical, writes about the life of a convert in the Catholic Church and explores how faith and everyday life intersect.

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December 18th, 2012

Enough: An Advent Prayer for Newtown and For All of Us


Mourners gather at St. Rose of Lima Church for a vigil service in Newtown, Connecticut. (CNS photo/Andrew Gombert, pool via Reuters)

Enough. This is enough. I look at the faces of our three children — our son the same age as the youngest victims of Friday’s tragedy — and I declare that this is enough.

It is Advent, the season of hope. It is the season of making ourselves ready for the coming of Christ. We … our grieving sisters and brothers in Newtown, Connecticut, and all of us who keep watch with them and pray with them and weep with them … have witnessed a dark shadow descend over this season of light. We have seen the hopes and dreams of little children and the selfless adults charged with their care extinguished by an act of indescribable violence. Enough.

We are a people who walk in darkness. In the mire of wanton death and destruction, we scratch and fumble and claw for some glimpse of light. And we have seen a light … small and fierce … beginning to penetrate the gloom. We have seen the people of Newtown wrap their arms around each other in love and solidarity. We have seen the people of this country — people of all races, faiths and walks of life — express their care and support and outrage in the wake of Friday’s tragic events. We have seen an outpouring of love from all across the world. It is a precious ray of hope in this time of deep sadness. But love and goodwill (in and of themselves) are not enough.

We are called to recognize the fact that we have failed each other and to own the horror that our failure has been visited on the innocent among us. We — the grown-up people of this country — need to have the courage to engage in some difficult conversations.

We have heard a call. Terrible and deafening. We have heard a call that must shake us to our bones. We are called to be changed. We are called to recognize the fact that we have failed each other and to own the horror that our failure has been visited on the innocent among us. We — the grown-up people of this country — need to have the courage to engage in some difficult conversations. Conversations that we have avoided mostly because they make us uncomfortable. We need to talk about guns. We need to talk about the state of mental health care in our society. We need to recognize the tangled matrix of issues involved in these acts of mass violence and not throw up our hands at the complexity of these painful events, but get to work. The light we seek this Advent is one that lays bare our failure. But it is not a light that sows despair and shame. It is the light of Christ — the light that shows us our wounds so we can be healed. In this light, we can hope. In this light, we can be transformed. In this light, we can strive to honor the memory of those whose lives were ended so violently and so soon.

This Advent, Lord, hear us with one voice (a voice wavering with sorrow but clear and firm in resolution) proclaim that this is enough. Enough. Let your light — the light that the darkness cannot overcome — stir us from our complacency and sense of helplessness. Grant us courage to ask difficult questions and to accept that we must change. Wrap your loving arms around the community of Newtown. Give them the peace that is yours, the peace that passes all understanding. Bless and welcome the children and adults who have come home to you. Transform us, Lord. We have had enough. Amen.

The Author : Caitlin Kennell Kim
Caitlin Kennell Kim is a full-time baby wrangler, writer, and ponderer of all things theological. She earned her Masters of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry and Theology from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. She currently lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband and their four small children.
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  • Jenny Dawson

    Caitlin, I am a UCC minister (and Ellie Martin Cliffe’s mother). I am profoundly moved by your article/prayer/sermon. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    • http://www.facebook.com/caitlin.k.kim Caitlin Kennell Kim

      Thanks, Rev. Dawson!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mkburgess Melinda K. Burgess

    Thank you for this. I am tired of hoping and praying. Now is the time for action.

    • http://www.facebook.com/caitlin.k.kim Caitlin Kennell Kim

      Couldn’t agree more. Thanks for reading!

  • Allana Causer

    understanding, sorry for the typo

  • Allana Causer

    Has anyone else been having problems posting? The topic today, re: mental health, is near and dear to my heart. So many of the people who have meantal health diseases are swept under the carpet. The families visit on holidays and birthdays, if that. I have worked with people and they are NOT okay with that. many feel abandoned. Sadly, people do not recognize the feelings, they continue living their lives, thinking since they have a place to stay it is okay. Now with all the budget cuts, the day programs

    • http://www.facebook.com/caitlin.k.kim Caitlin Kennell Kim

      Thanks for your insight, Allana. You raise some really important issues. Cuts to mental health services (dating back to the late ’70’s/early ’80’s, I think) have had a devastating effect on our country. I hope this horrible tragedy spurs some serious action to restore these services. It seems like a lot of folks don’t get help until they enter the criminal justice system… and then the quality/duration of care they receive is often really lacking. So sad.

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