Thomas Keating is the founder of The Centering Prayer movement and author of Open Mind, Open Heart and Fruits and Gifts of the Spirit. In the first half of this paperback, he presents a Christian perspective on September 11.
For this meditator, the destruction of the Twin Towers was "an image of the crucifixion of Christ, extended to the whole of humanity." The people who lost their lives on that day pioneered a new kind of martyrdom, according to Father Keating. All of the forces of violence and hatred unleashed in the past century descended upon them: "They bore, so to speak, the collective negativity and sins of the world at that moment. This is why in dying, they are martyrs in a very real sense, and thus entered immediately into the everlasting life promised to those who lay down their lives for the sake of others and for justice and peace."
There are lessons for the future of the planet in the events of September 11, and Father Keating spells them out. First, citizens of all nations need to unite in a new understanding and appreciation of the oneness of the human family. Second, we must follow the ideals of the major religions of the world by emphasizing negotiation, compromise, forgiveness, and mutual respect over violent retaliation. And third, "We need to reach out to those who oppose us in reconciliation, patience, and compassion. We all suffer from the human condition and long to escape from our common misery. Why not hold hands and help each other climb out of the swamp rather than fight over the real estate?"
The author closes this paperback with a brief meditation on the marriage feast at Cana. He emphasizes that we, like Mary, can bring peace into our world by little acts of kindness. And in the spirit of Christ, we can be transformers always on the lookout for new ways of enriching the lives of those around us.