Sunday, September 11, 2005

Remembering September 11

Flashback to Rod Dreher, in Crisis magazine:

... Movie fantasy is now inadequate to describe our reality. No terror conjured by Hollywood could match what the people in our city saw and heard and felt in their bones that day.

Monsignor Ignace Sadek, the elderly pastor of the Maronite cathedral near the Brooklyn waterfront, went to the promenade park overlooking lower Manhattan and prayed for absolution for the dying as the towers burned. When the first building crumbled, and the terrible cloud of smoke, debris, and incinerated human remains began its grim march across the harbor, Monsignor Sadek remained at his post praying. The falling ash turned him into a ghost. Still, he stayed as long as he could. This is a man who came through the civil war in Lebanon, and he doesn’t run.

"People could see I was a priest," he told me later (he is my pastor). "They ran to me and knelt at my feet, and begged for absolution." Think of that: The people of this proud, defiantly secular city, driven to their knees in prayer, begging for mercy in a hot, gray fog. That is what purgatory must be like ...

...A small stir was made in the media about demonic faces photographed in the smoke !and fireball of September 11. But you probably haven’t heard about the crosses. My Lutheran uncle is an FBI chaplain. He phoned me from ground zero and told me a small field of crosses had been discovered in the rubble of World Trade Center 6.

They were a series of massive I-beams that had fallen from the top of the tower that was second to collapse. The beams landed in a peculiar fashion, as if they were crosses that had been planted upright by an unseen hand.

I couldn’t talk my way onto the site, but I did make contact with Frank Silecchia, the burly hard hat who found the crosses as he was searching for body parts. Silecchia is a born-again Christian who wept for 20 minutes when he first discovered them. Since that day, Silecchia says he has led many broken and mourning rescue workers to the foot of the largest cross, some 30 feet tall, to pray and be healed.

"Despite all of the evil poured onto these buildings, God is here, and He will not be defeated," Silecchia told me.

A thought: The demonic faces evaporated in an instant, but the cross, steely and straight amid the tangled remains of evil’s residue, remained.


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