Posted by: fvbcdm | September 9, 2013

Feast of Saint Peter Claver (9 September 2013)

Today we celebrate the feast of Saint Peter Claver, a Spanish priest of the 17th century who worked among the black African slaves being brought to South America in the evil trafficking in human lives.  In his writings we learn of the pitiable condition of those men, women, and children—many of whom died because of the treatment they received at the hands of their slave-dealers.  This always reminds me of a conversation I had with a schoolteacher years ago in New Orleans.  She was a parishioner of ours, and she taught first grade in a black public school.  She spoke of the beauty, the innocence, the naivete, the basic goodness of the little ones she taught in her first grade.  And then she said, “I look at the eighth graders, just seven years older than my precious little students. They have seen and many times experienced every sin, every crime, every outrage against human dignity, every atrocity that you can imagine. They come to school and talk about the murders in their neighborhoods, the theft, the drug-dealing, the prostitution, both hetero- and homosexual, the lying, the violence of the gangs, the political corruption . . . And my heart sinks to think that in just seven years, my little ones: smiling, trusting, without guile, will be as jaded, as street-wise, and often as violent and vicious as those eighth-graders who have learned every sin and evil that human perversity can invent.”

So you see, the evils of the slave-trade that Saint Peter Claver combated back in the 1600s are still going on. Regardless of where the guilt lies now, human lives and souls are being destroyed, and the tremendous value of human persons is being wasted and turned against the purpose for which God creates all of us.

The problem is gigantic, but we as a human society are even greater, and if we want to, we can begin to eradicate these evils.  IF WE WANT TO.  But you see, unfortunately, there is often money to be made by these sins, evils, and crimes.  And love of money is the root of all evil.  For $50, a 12-year old girl will be given into prostitution which may well result in her contracting a sexually transmitted disease, or becoming pregnant; an elderly shopkeeper will be injured or killed; one street gang will attack another with lead pipes for the right to sell drugs on this or that street corner.

Let us keep our consciousness of these social and spiritual problems very much alive and operative.  Let us take whatever means we can to improve our society so that all human beings can live in freedom from fear, from criminals, from violence, and above all, from alienation from God by the preferment of money or drugs or illicit sex to the nobility of human union with the infinitely good God in whom alone can human happiness be found. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This is a CDM composed by Father Brown in the past.

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