Boko Haram, ISIS, increasingly it seems there is an extreme, and growing, disorder of violent hatred within Islam which is spreading across the world.
What to think of a religion which, most recently in Sudan, sentences to death an expectant mother for the crime of becoming a Christian?
Indeed while it is apparently true that the majority of our brothers and sisters who adhere to the Islamic faith do NOT engage in the atrocities committed by the numerous killing machines such as Boko Haram, the deafening silence from the Islamic community on the one hand, and the hateful encouragement of some Imams on the other hand to such groups to war their evil war against others suggests that something extremely dark and evil is spreading throughout the religion of Islam and poses an enduring threat, first to human beings in places like Nigeria, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Somalia, and indeed throughout the entire world.
Admittedly the major western powers have been tepid in the extreme in their response to the countless acts of violence, to the kidnappings, in particular of children and women, to the multi-year slaughter in Syria – much like the way countries were dismissive of the pleas from Ethiopia, in another era, before the invasion of Poland or of China before Pearl Harbour.
I do not believe, given that these terror groups are clearly composed of people devoid of any moral center, there is any ‘military’ solution to such extensive evil.
It is not just that these Islamic terror groups hate and target non-Muslim peoples, but within Islam itself terror groups slaughter and kidnap those deemed not to belong to the right sect.
From the terrorized towns and villages of Syria and Iraq to those of Nigeria, to the homes of Western families where a place at the table is vacant because one of their own has become radicalized and slipped out of home and country to join some terror group, tears of blood, tears of despair, flow like rivers throughout the human family.
It would both be too easy, and to be participant in evil, to hate any people of the Islamic faith.
Likewise however not to have a heart aching for the millions in refugee camps seeking to flee the terror, not to be troubled deeply in our souls for the safety of our Sudanese sister, all the women and children kidnapped in Nigeria, is to surrender to evil.
Admittedly it has taken me some time to be able to compose these reflections with any degree of interior peace, true love for and prayer for the conversion not only of the perpetrators of violence, blasphemously claiming to be doing so in the name of God, but indeed for the conversion of everyone to Jesus.
In the face of such immense bloody evil, such hatred as spread by Islamic terrorists what defense do we truly have?
The Holy Rosary, the beads of hope.
Each bead drawn through our fingers as we pray is like a step across a bridge of love, each bead drawn is like one more tear wiped away from the face of a mother whose child has been kidnapped, each is a link in a chain of hope, a step on the footpath to freedom.
Declaration of praise and glory before the awesome mysteries and reality He loves us so He IS Incarnate for us, suffered, died, rose, for us, sends constantly the Holy Spirit upon us to vivify and strengthen, to enlighten and encourage – and all this and more is offered to every human being for whom we should, dare I say MUST, pray through Our Blessed Mother.
The Rosary is never a merely personal prayer: it is an act of prayerful love for all our brothers and sisters.
Only light can disperse darkness, only love can vanquish hate.
Our Lady of Fatima taught the children in the Cova da Ira, and teaches us after each decade to embrace the humility which alone can vanquish the pride of those who do evil: O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.