Our Calling

Here is one amazing story about a woman whose son was murdered by racist bigots yet she says
Do I forgive them? At the point of death Jesus said, ‘I forgive them because they do not know what they do’. I have got to forgive them. I still forgive them.

It will be difficult but we have no choice but to live on for Anthony. Each of us will take a piece of him and will carry on his life.
As Mark Shea said, "Mercy, the most scandalous demand of the gospel is also the most breath-takingly beautiful and supernatural. The power to do what this woman did can only come from God".

The Times went on to remark
The contrast between the 18-year-old victim, a devout Christian, committed student and talented basketball player who wanted to become a lawyer, and his white racist killers could not have been more stark.
We certainly live in debauched times. It is tempting to want to exact revenge on such thugs, to pay out to them the lex talionis. But that would be to lower ourselves to a level that is, in some sense, lower than the level that they have lowered themselves to. They acted out of ignorance, fear, and loathing. To execute them would be to act in cold blood, with malice aforethought that is unbecoming of the Christian. Mrs. Walker is a paradigm for us all.

For some reason, as I read this story I was reminded of the books in the "Left Behind" series by Tim LaHaye. I haven't actually read any of these books all the way through, but I have browsed them rather extensively while passing time in bookstores sipping at lattes, and I have read several reviews of them, including one in the Times Literary Supplement of all places. What struck me about them is the violence directed at the alleged enemy of the believer. It is very much a series about retribution, with unbelievers getting their heads blown off and Lord knows what all. When I lived in North Carolina I had a friend who often talked about Our Lord's return in this way--he used to say that he couldn't wait for Christ's Second Coming, because then all the sinners would really get theirs. I guess he was pretty confident of where he stood in Our Lord's sight, as I suppose Tim LaHaye must feel. But it is striking that, when thinking of Our Lord's return what they feel first is not the joy of the Beatific Vision but the bloodlust of revenge against the unrepentant. That is not a view of the proper Christian mindset that I share.

Mrs. Walker's attitude is a model that it can be very difficult, if not impossible, to live up to, since we are all too human. But if she can do it, if she has done it, that establishes that it can be done, and that becomes our benchmark. And yes, Mark Shea is right: only the grace of God can empower us to overcome our innate, biological drive to seek revenge. But God has offered his grace to us all. The word "grace" comes from the Latin gratis, free--all we have to do is want it enough to abandon our very selves to God's will, and it is ours.

We don't have any excuse for acting otherwise.


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