Friday, March 28, 2014

Love Without Mercy Is Not Really Love

So much has gone on here at the CDN since my last blog.  You’ve heard about some of it…our Spring break trip to New Orleans where we helped with the St. Bernard Project, what we’ve been learning in our respective classes at Aquinas, the grace of the many wonderful speakers at our Inter Community Novitiate. Right now, though, in the midst of Lent, I’d simply like to tell you about an extremely moving experience we had tonight, (Thursday, March 27,) during a Day of Reflection and how it connects to a vigil held at College Church this past Tuesday night… the night Jeffrey Ferguson was put to death here in Missouri.  Although Days of Reflection are normally on Fridays, this week’s leader, Sr. Bea, (pronounced "Bay'-uh") started tomorrow's reflection tonight.
Bea took down all of the framed pictures on one side of the first floor of our house and taped up very simple but simply profound, sketched drawings of the Stations of the Cross.  As a group, we prayed the Stations in candlelight, after supper.  As we sang “Jesus Walked This Lonely Valley” between Stations, I found it very difficult to keep my emotions in check.
            The Stations have always had that effect on me. But in particular, Station IV almost literally knocks the breath out of me.  I'm the mother of a 28-year old son.  I can never quite go in my mind or heart to the place that Mary had to journey with her son, but I’ve gotten close enough to cry every time.  Yes, she IS a model of faithfulness and trust in our God but, still, she must have felt that her heart was being ripped from her body, watching her boy being cursed, beaten, mocked and ultimately murdered.
            Which brings me to Jeffrey Ferguson, and all men and women in our country who are on death row, or who have been put to death as a result of the imposition of the death penalty. I think of their mothers. I think of their torment… for the suffering their child has inflicted and for the suffering their child faces. I think of the love they still have for their child. Their anguish pierces me. And, yes, of course, I think of the mothers and fathers and family and friends of the victims. Their anguish pierces me. But killing just begets killing. Violence begets violence.  Where will it end?

            This isn’t a political statement.  I’m not really looking for affirmation or dialogue, although dialogue is welcome because I believe it’s the only way we will ever stop hurting each other.  This is just me, tired of the ways we find to inflict pain on each other; just me, believing that our Creator God, who is Love, and who loves each of us into being, also dispenses infinite Mercy. Mercy that none of us has ever merited or earned.  Just me, believing we are all called to do the same.

(Image by Sr. Teresita Kelly, OP, Dominican Sister of Sinsinawa, dec.) 

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