The Ursuline Sisters welcomed the surrounding community into the Motherhouse Chapel for moments of prayer on September 11, recalling in a special way the tragic loss of life and heroic actions on that date in 2001. Young and old gathered throughout the day for silent prayer, for Mass, for praying the Rosary, and for a silent Holy Hour.
Sister Janet Marie Peterworth, president of the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville, presented the homily during the Liturgy, reflecting, “Today we remember to pray again for those lost and those grieving and, yes, for those who used airplanes as weapons against us that day and changed our lives. For Jesus tells us, “You have heard it said love your neighbor and hate your enemy, but I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your God in heaven.”
Sister Janet Marie’s complete homily: September 11, 2015
Do you remember? I remember. Do you know where you were? I know exactly. Can you recall your feelings? I can.
I am not talking about the day you made your first vows or the day you got married or your first day on a new job or in a new ministry. No, I am talking about Sept 11, 2001. I am talking about that beautiful day of bright sun and azure blue skies.
I am talking about the day the United States first realized in a new and real way that it was vulnerable. The first day that it realized that while it was a super power, it was not loved and respected everywhere in the world.
It was the day that we all knew that structures of glass and steel reaching far into the skies, just like a ship of opulence and beauty racing full speed ahead into the night, could be penetrated and brought down in a matter of minutes. It was also the day we saw the bigness of the human spirit, the day we saw hundreds helping one another, some trained professionals, others ordinary people doing extraordinary things for their neighbors. Do you remember?
Today we are here to remember all of those things. This day has been set aside just so we don’t forget. But forget what? The tragedy of that day … No, I say it is set aside so we don’t forget that it is possible for nations to beat their spears into pruning hooks. It is possible that nations will not take up swords against one another. It is possible that nations will not train for war anymore.
This day is set aside to give us hope that everyone will sit under their own vine and their own fig tree and no one will make them afraid. And that all nations can walk side by side in the name of their gods. This is the day to listen to what our God will say … Our God promises peace to the people and will not let them return to folly. Our God says justice and peace shall kiss and that God will give what is good.
This day is a day for us to remember to forgive as hard as that might be – a day to remember to pray for our enemies who felt that the only way they could be heard was to take the lives of more than 3,000 innocent people and destroy our symbols of wealth and war.
After Sept 11, 2001, nothing has been the same in the life of our country and in our personal lives. That day left us outraged, afraid and saddened. Prayers for those killed and for their families came readily to our tongue that day, while prayers for those who did this stuck in our throats.
Today we remember to pray again for those lost and those grieving and, yes, for those who used airplanes as weapons against us that day and changed our lives. For Jesus tells us, “You have heard it said love your neighbor and hate your enemy, but I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your God in heaven.”
And this day of remembering strife among nations, a day of remembering greatness and hope, and this day of remembering forgiveness and prayer reminds me of some of the words of John Lennon’s famous song … “Imagine.” The second verse says:
“Imagine there’s no countries, it isn’t hard to do, nothing to kill or die for, and no religion, too. Imagine all the people living life in peace.
You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us and the world will be as one.”
If we could imagine this, then we would not have to remember days like Sept 11, 2001.