Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Divine Mercy

A short reflection on God's Divine Mercy, in the aftermath of the Paris and San Bernardino attacks.

As a Catholic, I seek a proper response to the vicious and unprovoked attacks and the subsequent deaths of hundreds of victims. Obviously, the attacks must be condemned. I am outraged by the brutality, the careless killing, the disrespect for the dignity of human life. Bloggers and reporters worldwide (and closer-by Catholic friends) clamor for retribution, for justice to be served. Many want ISIS (and Syria, etc.) to be bombed back to the Stone Ages.

Yes, eye-for-an-eye retribution certainly feels good as a knee-jerk reaction, but is is just?

I keep thinking of our Lord, unjustly accused, tortured, crucified and killed. I don't recall any instance in the New Testament where He said to His Apostles, "Avenge my death!" That is not the Lord's way. In the Garden of Gethsemani, Peter takes up his sword and strikes one of the guards wanting to arrest Jesus, but note that Jesus rebukes Peter and heals the guard's lopped off ear. Reminiscent of Mary and Jesus, I'm also reminded of the episode narrated in 2 Maccabees 7.1, where a mother watches all seven of her sons tortured and killed for not renouncing their Jewish customs and accepting pagan rites. Of course she had to be dying inside. What mother could watch her own flesh and blood killed in front of her eyes? But what did the woman do? Instead of wasting her breath trying to convince him to accept pagan ways, she implored the last one to look to Heaven, and to acknowledge his creator, the Creator of the universe.

As Christians, this is not the time to let pride and hurtful feelings come between us and the Lord. C.S. Lewis commented, "One certainly does not become a Christian for the easy life." Christ already told us we would not have it easy if we took up our cross and followed Him. A cursory glance at the Book of Revelation gives us a glimpse of the end times, which have been ongoing since the death of Jesus. With lots of plagues and comets destroying the Earth, St. John does not paint a pretty picture.

One of the lines in the Anima Christi prayer states, "Within Thy wounds, hide me." Some people imagine themselves up on the Cross with Jesus, hidden in one of His wounds, looking down at the world's injustice. But maybe, before we climb up on that lofty place of Holiness in Calvary, we might consider that we (as the Catholic Church teaches) are all part of Christ's Mystical Body down here on earth. Maybe His wounds are the wounded Syrian parts of His Body attempting to save their lives by escaping their country. Maybe we should hide in those wounds, and seek to help them start a new life, instead of creating yet more difficulties to immigrate to our countries.

But one could argue that this attitude of ours won't stop ISIS! No, of course not. But to those who insist on answering violence with violence, I ask: Since when have bullets and bombs ever destroyed hatred? It's been twenty years, a whole generation now, that we've been bombing Afghanistan. What has that accomplished? The creation of ISIS. We should also remember that just as we believe that the blood of martyrs sows the seeds of the Church, extremist Muslims also believe that credo.

We are called, as Christians, to pray and to trust in Almighty God. Blessed Pope Pius IX said, "Give me an army saying the Rosary, and I will conquer the world!"


I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year. Thank you for reading my blog and my fiction.

Blogger Wordpress Gadgets