Friday, November 6, 2009

"I don't have to shout... I have no doubt"

It is fall and my friend Kim put me on a Tom Waits jag this week. The video is a live performance from Warsaw, Poland- Jesus Gonna Be Here-

"Jesus will be here
Be here soon
he's gonna cover us up with leaves
With a blanket from the moon
With a promise and a vow
And a lullaby for my brow"

Looking in my wife's November issue of Magnificat for yesterday, under the heading Saints of Today and Yesterday, I learned of St. Guethenoc. This Welsh saint was an abbot who lived in the 5th century. He is a patron of soldiers because it is believed he served as one before becoming a monk. Besides, guethenoc means warrior in Welsh. Did I mention he is Welsh? His sainted twin brother, Jacut, is too, along with his sainted parents Sts. Gwen and Fragan. Let us ask for his prayers, along with those of St. Martin of Tours, on behalf of those killed and wounded at Ft. Hood yesterday. Let's be bold and ask for their intercessions on behalf of the deeply disturbed soldier who went on the shooting spree, too. While we're on matters of prayer and penitence, today being Friday, I draw your attention to something written by Bishop Paul Loverde of Arlington, Virginia regarding the impending execution of another soldier turned murderer, John Allen Muhammad. His Excellency's article is Hope in life, even in the midst of despair. In this pastoral plea, Bishop Loverde writes:

"In the needles of lethal injection, we see the manifestation of despair. And in this despair, in advocating the use of the death penalty, our society has moved beyond the legitimate judgment of crimes. Brothers and sisters, we are better than this. We are called to be more than slaves to despair; we are called to be heralds of hope!"

In this month during which we remember our departed dead and renew our commitment to the communion of saints, a month began in this cyberspace by remembering the Little Flower, Bishop Loverde points to her as "a striking example of" the hope we are to herald:"Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, who, as a young girl, prayed and did penance for the conversion of a convicted murderer Henri Pranzini. Although he had repeatedly refused to repent, at the moment before placing his head in the noose, he kissed the crucifix held out to him three times. Through the prayers and penance of Saint Thérèse, a person judged to be lost was won for Christ! "

Muhammad's execution is currently slated for Tuesday, 10 November, the vigil of the memorial of St. Martin of Tours. Because we are heralds of hope, let us ask him and our beloved Little Flower to pray for Muhammad to the Lord our God. Let us never cease praying for the victims of Muhammad's bizarre and scary shooting spree and for their families. As the Holy Father reminded us in his encyclical letter Spe Salvi- "Grace does not cancel out justice. It does not make wrong into right. It is not a sponge which wipes everything away, so that whatever someone has done on earth ends up being of equal value... [e]vildoers, in the end, do not sit at table at the eternal banquet beside their victims without distinction, as though nothing had happened" (par. 44).

A deep diaconal bow to Deacon Greg Kandra for bringing Bishop Loverde's article to my attention.


  1. "[e]vildoers, in the end, do not sit at table at the eternal banquet beside their victims without distinction, as though nothing had happened"

    What if had an abortion or IVF?

    /not in a good place right now

  2. The key thing is that evildoers, which all of us are to one extent or another, are at the table, not outside the banquet. There is something purgatorial about this observation of the Holy Father's. The pain has to be faced before healing can happen.

    Many women who have had abortions have faced the reality of their choice. Ministries, like Project Rachel and Rachel's Vineyard, take women through just the kind of healing described in this passage of Spe Salvi. Let's not forget that we have time and opportunity now to be reconciled.

    But the residual regret you express needs an ultimate healing, of the kind only our loving Lord can provide. That puts you and all of us in a good place, now and forever.

  3. As Waits sings, Jesus comes to you "With a promise and vow and lullaby for [your] brow." Rest in his mercy.

  4. I did face it, or thought I had, by going to confession. But it wasn't an abortion, it was in vitro, and there doesn't seem to be any ministry for that and I sometimes wish there were ... (though reading the stories at Project Rachel, there's certainly a weird inverse relationship between the two things).

    Thank you for your response, by the way. It's always good to be reminded.

  5. Sonetka, you bring up something of importance -- ministry to men and women who have chosen IVF and the consequences of it. I don't have an answer but speaking about it is important.

    My clinical work often includes couples who are suffering from the longer term impact IVF has on their marriages, their emotional disequilibrium, and their subsequent parenting of the child they bring into the world. I realize I speak only to a small segment of those conceiving through IVF, but it does have its lasting effects, and the struggle to regain peace for these couples seems to be a difficult road.

    Ministry for this widespread reality in our culture I suspect will be on a one to one basis, and initiated by individuals coming forward and asking to talk and be reconciled.

    God bless you!
    Dc. Bob Yerhot



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