Monday, April 15, 2013

Have Mercy on Us and the Whole World

I have read as much as I could stomach of the Gosnell trial, and what I read fills me with both sorrow and revulsion.  The temptation to go all James and John, "Lord, let us reign fire down..." is strong, because the evil is so obvious.  However, James and John are rebuked by the Lord, it is not good for their spirits, and it is not good for mine either.  

While in Texas visiting my parents, I had a momentary glimpse into how grace works, a vision of sorts, while waking, brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed.  I saw a woman, not myself, standing at the edge of a cliff.  Below her were rocks and a fierce ocean. The wind was swift, the sky clear and immense, filled with stars and overwhelming in its emptiness.  The woman was suffering, pain of the heart, worry, every sort of care. 

A cross, a luminous cross came down to her and she threw her arms around it like a lover.  It floated up into the air, over the ocean, away from the cliff and the cares.  Then, it turned so the woman could rest on the cross, holding onto it still in a huge embrace.   The cross flew past the ocean and the stars and all of time with the no longer troubled soul resting as she saw everything fall away.  Grace works that way for all of us no matter what we've done. 

Reading the news, the very sure temptation to say, "Lord, I am grateful I'm not like that sinful man." is fairly obvious.  It is a grave danger to anyone who calls themselves pro-life to presume to know the state of another's soul, or to wish hell, death, pain and damnation upon anyone. Righteous wrath turns quickly to a lust for vengeance, and we do not manage our souls well when tempted with the opportunity to presumably end evil with an evil.  We cannot bring a good out of evil, only God can do this, and it is a great temptation when presented with grave evil, great injustice, and cruel indifference toward the innocent.

The saints did not curse their persecutors, they sang praise while going to their deaths, they focused on their own unworthiness to be martyrs or witnesses to Christ, they comforted others, they prayed.  I am no saint. I will not allow myself to entertain the thoughts I had about this man and what he deserves, because they hurt me.  I cannot call the cross to me, it comes unsummoned, I cannot make the cross fly across the heavens past time, I can only embrace or not.  The cross is a gift.  The grace is a gift, mercy a gift, forgiveness a gift, all of it, unearned by us, merely sought.  

So I focus instead on the reality, that this man, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, is beloved of Christ. 

Boy let that sink in for a minute.  This man is beloved of Christ, ergo, Christ loved him  so deeply, He would and did take the wounds and scourge and pain of death for this man, just as singularly as He did for Hitler or Margaret Sanger or Adam Lanza or Kim Jong Il or me.  

I'll just sit here and sting Ow...for a minute. 

We just know these people's public sins.  We should remember to God, all our sins are public.  All of them count.  All of them wound Christ's heart. Christ wants each and every soul.  We cannot love as Christ loves, so we cannot comprehend this deep ocean of mercy, except to know that the same ocean of mercy is available to us if we are willing to plunge into it, to accept that this ocean is His to give, not ours to dole out.

But...but...but...this is really bad. Really bad. Evil sick twisted wrong bad my soul sputters.

It is a great mystery that Christ can forgive evil, notice I did not say excuse or explain, but forgive. We have to trust, God's justice and mercy are never at odds, it is only our fractured fallen souls that cannot reconcile the two. Which would we want for ourselves, for our children, for our friends?  Justice or Mercy?  Then that is what we must pray for, for our enemies.   (Darn).

If we need convincing, we need only look at the cross.  It is God's answer to our sin, to our evil.  My mercy is the limit of sin's reach.   My mercy is here for you.  My mercy is all if you accept it.  My mercy is yours if you seek it.   My mercy, my mercy, my mercy.  

So I'll be asking all of you to consider praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet for Dr. Gosnell, today and every day as long as he lives, because the souls we save, may be our own.  


Karen said...

I don't know if I even want to read anything that comes out of this trial. When the story broke a couple of years ago it was all over the news here (we're in the Philadelphia area) and I read the documents with the allegations and was just shocked and sickened with what they contained. I think there were pictures, too, or the descriptions were so vivid that they left a vivid picture in my mind. It really is gruesome and so terribly sad.

Anonymous said...

May God have mercy on my soul-and all others, too.
Thanks for writing this. Love, Mom

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