Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Christina Grimmie: Only Love Conquers Violence

As we mark six years and eleven months since Christina Grimmie was taken from this world, we find ourselves especially in need of remembering the precious gift of her life. In the midst of the many sorrows of our times, we can look to her luminous joy—to the way she embraced every day with gratitude and expectation, and extended love and compassion to the people entrusted to her, both near and far.

We know these things because Christina used her musical talent, her splendid singing voice, and her pioneering presence on YouTube to share her joy, gratitude, and love with us. Her legacy remains for us as proof that her value as a person is immeasurably greater than all the reckless and destructive forces of this world, and thus she encourages us to recognize the ineradicable dignity and unique value of every human person.

Christina’s sense of wonder in front of the mystery of reality and her confidence in the ultimate victory of goodness and love—rooted in her faith in Jesus Christ—help us to stand in front of these present days with courage and hope even as the dark clouds of violence seem to grow more ominous all around us. Her compassion, her open arms, remind us to open our hearts in compassion to one another and to so many who are suffering right now.

Many people from many places all around the world live with this violence every day. The wars, the bombs, the atrocities, the executions, the mass-graves, the refugees driven from homes that no longer exist, the migrants fleeing from poverty, chaos, and oppression in their native lands. From Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Central and East Asia, and—of course—Ukraine, the cries of the innocent are heard every day.

And here in Christina’s home country—the United States—we heard the cries again, five days ago, at a shopping mall in Allen, Texas.

Cries and gunshots.

Eight people died and six more were hospitalized with bullet wounds. Hundreds more were traumatized in moments of terror and helplessness that they will remember for the rest of their lives, before police finally took down the shooter and ended his killing rampage.

“Why does this keep happening?”—people in the U.S.A. ask themselves. This country, my country, is a good country, but something is going terribly wrong in our society. Many things are wrong with the ways we relate to one another. And it seems like it’s just getting worse.

But our first thoughts must be for the real human beings who are suffering because of this most recent catastrophe. We must weep and mourn for the victims (three of whom were children), and we must not let their families suffer alone. Here especially, Christina Grimmie’s awareness of the needs of human persons and her willingness to accompany them “with love” has an ongoing significance in the work begun by her family and friends: the Christina Grimmie Foundation , which is dedicated to providing material and personal support to the families of the victims of gun violence. See the website for ways to participate in supporting people in the distress that remains for them long after the news reports move on.

Christina Grimmie inspires us to the conviction that only love can overcome violence. This victory will one day be made manifest to the whole world and all of history. Yet even now, it is not entirely hidden. It shows glimpses of its light whenever we begin to love one another as brothers and sisters, when we forgive one another, when we reach out in works of mercy to people who are suffering—in love and solidarity with them as persons and attention to meeting their concrete needs.

Love conquers violence. Christina’s whole life witnesses to this, and her legacy perpetuates this witness in many ways, significantly in the Christina Grimmie Foundation, where it is a light passed from person to person in the gathering darkness—a small light, it may seem, yet it burns trusting in the promise that the darkness will end finally with the dawn of an unending day.