This amazing letter appeared in the Catholic Standard in the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. It was written by two high school students who participate in the GS (Gioventu Studentesca) Group in Washington. GS is the high school expression of the lay movement Communion and Liberation. If you would like to know more about the Movement which teaches high school students to look at life with such a clear hope, then check out the website: www.clonline.org and http://www.clonline.org/us/ and especially http://www.gsnews.us/
Death of a Friend
We belong to GS (Gioventu Studentesca), a youth group that is part of a Catholic movement called Communion and Liberation, which was founded by Father Luigi Giussani in 1954.
Over a week ago, we received the news that our friend, Thomas K. Doerflinger, was slain during a mission in Northern Iraq. We met him when he was in GS two years ago. Since hearing of the appalling death of our friend, our community has been striving to live this experience together. This event has forces out of the neutrality with which we often live our lives, filling every moment with a great sense of urgency regarding the ever-present drama of our happiness and ultimately, existence.
The loss of Thomas seems to cry out that everything ends much like many of our transitory interests, friendships and passion in life. Yet, there is something inside each one of us that rebels against this claim.
To affirm that everything passes is to condemn ourselves to live life trying to seize every moment as if it was the last, while all that is beautiful slides away from us and every person appears just as another illusory object encountered on our march towards the end. We refuse to live in such desperation.
Even though everything seems destined towards an end, we stand in front of the death of Thomas certain that death is not the last word. We don't say this merely to placate our sense of loss but because of a lived experience of friendship; an unexpected friendship completely unlooked for that surprises us every moment; a friendship that keeps reawakening our hearts' desires for happiness, love, truth, and justice; a friendship that mysteriously corresponds to us because it fulfills those desires time and time again. Because of this friendship, we don't just put up with the present, but live every circumstance intensely, from going to class to facing a friend's death.
Hos is it possible that a group of friends apparently just like everyone else, just as flawed and imperfect, could so provoke us again and again? How can we affirm that life is beautiful in front of such tragedy? Because the infinite, the eternal, the answer to all desires is present in this friendship as He was present 2,000 years ago in the womb of a woman named Mary. It is because of the presence of the One who conquered death that Thomas's death, though certainly painful, is not a desperate occasion.
The sense of urgency with which we have lived these past few weeks has strengthened our awareness of His powerful presence in our lives. Because we have witnessed through this friendship that He awakens us from the passiveness and emptiness of our everyday lives, we trust that He will also save us front he apparent nothingness of death. It is with this certainty that we place our hope not only for Thomas, but also for ourselves in the risen Christ, so that our lives may not be doomed to end but destined to resonate in eternity.
Analina Brito and Francesca Fornasini