Every morning, even before I grab the first of many cups of coffee, my sleepy feet take me to the computer room for the world news. I check out the European, African and Asian news on the BBC and various Polish news agencies first.
We are eight hours behind the Old Continent, therefore the news folk over there are in full cry while ours rise to greet the morning sun. The CBC and Edmonton Journal websites still feature yesterday's fare at the break of the day, so I come back to their websites well after breakfast.
Despite the efforts of the news people, who try to serve an equal amount of bad news and good, the bad prevails, although it is cleverly mixed with more palatable items. As today's public is image-driven, we may have the news of a man-made famine with photos of starving children next to photos of a cute lab that is the most popular dog in the U.S., or beside a moving mini-video in which volunteers tend to a whale stranded on a beach.
'Whoever believes in him may have eternal life.'
The resulting emotional cacophony confuses and desensitizes even the most experienced in the game of the news, those who know how to read between the lines or have worked in the news business. We are becoming less and less able to discern between the important and the trivial, between right and wrong.
Very often items disregarded by the main agencies, or pushed well beyond the front page or the website, are those who truly matter. The martyrdom of Christians in our enlightened and all-tolerant 21st century is one such "silenced news."
Only Catholic news agencies, or the blogs of missionaries in Africa and L'Osservatore Romano in Rome speak about the massive hecatomb of our sisters and brothers in faith. Elsewhere you will read about "riots" and "street killings," events taken out of context and soon forgotten. No images for these massacres in churches, no names of perpetrators.
The early morning world news makes me pray, often with tears in my eyes. It also makes me wonder how long God will put up with our inequities. Sometimes, as I shut down the computer I seem to be walking a thin edge set above the abyss of desperation.
I weep over the starving children in Africa, the bloodied bodies of protesters in Syria, the burned Christian churches in Nigeria and Egypt. I cry for the people seeking food on garbage heaps of all great cities of the world and the murder-suicides in Alberta. The good seems helpless and vulnerable, almost doomed.
Then I recollect the history of the Chosen People. To the young, my seeking consolation in biblical stories may sound like escapism.
However, I have seen the greatest human power that ever enslaved Poland, the Soviet Union, disintegrate within a few years. It happened as unexpectedly as the Persian conquest of the NeoBabylonian Empire which had conquered Judea, brought down the First Temple in Jerusalem and enslaved the Jews.
The tragic event of this ancient enslavement of 70 years gave good fruit, too, although it came at a high price. It was during the Babylonian Captivity that consolidation of the religious and historical tradition of the Jews, known now as Old Testament took place. The process of moral disintegration was stopped as well.
In Poland, 45 years of the Soviet post-World War II oppression, also at a high price paid by those who defended freedom, resulted in the consolidation of the Catholic Church around several wonderful leaders, John Paul II among them. It also delayed the arrival of the practical materialism, consumerism and resulting moral dissolution which began to assert themselves in the West soon after the war.
Who could foresee the falling of the Berlin Wall even a couple years before that happened? Yet it happened. Nothing is impossible to God and he is truly the master of human history.
No matter what the media whisper or shout every morning, they see only mismatched bits of a puzzle of millions of pieces.
Only God sees our history, past, present and future, as a whole.
That means I can smile - even if through tears sometimes - because the Lord of human history is also the most loving Father of all and he will see to the happy end of the children of Adam and Eve, no matter what. Although the price of our sins may be high, he will lead us out of our Babylonian Captivity.