Tuesday, March 07, 2006

“Love Means That For Me You Shall Never Die”

 
JennySome things are not meant to be forgiven. One of them is the murder of your child. We are hard-wired to protect our offspring and when they die at the hands of murderous thugs our overwhelming sorrow and loss learns to move in tandem with an implacable hatred for those who love death so much that they would randomly and enthusiastically kill your child.

Now comes an Anglican vicar, the Rev. Julie Nicholson, whose daughter was one of the fifty people whose lives were snatched away by a group of indoctrinated thugs. The vicar is stepping down from her position as priest in charge of a church in Bristol. She says she finds it—

…very difficult for me to stand behind an altar and celebrate the Eucharist and lead people in words of peace and reconciliation and forgiveness when I feel very far from that myself.

Well, of course it’s difficult. In fact, if you’re a sentient being, it’s damned nigh impossible. That’s why we have the death penalty in the U.S., and why they would have it in Europe if the elitists hadn’t rammed through its abolition. The polls are very clear: most Europeans are in favor of death as the only solution for those who spread death in their wake.

The Rev. Nicholson is a priest. As such she is a mediator, a witness. She is not an über-Christian whose ordination somehow lifts her above her flock. “The priesthood of the baptized” is a bit of tarnished theology by now, but it served its purpose: to bring the priest back down to eye level.

The Rev. Nicholson says she has struggled greatly with her inability to forgive her daughter’s killer and has read many books in these last months on forgiveness. They don’t help; she remains in awe of those who can say “I forgive…”

Her awe is misplaced and her spiritual director ought to be saying as much. Wisely, she has reflected on the scene of Mary at the foot of the cross, watching her Son’s agonizing death. She has noticed that “forgiveness doesn’t come into it at all.” She’s absolutely right: Jesus asked His Father to forgive his killers, but He never asked for the strength to forgive them Himself. Even Jesus had, so to speak, a Higher Power at that point, One to Whom He could surrender his suffering. We are never told that Mary forgave anything, including perhaps even her Son’s choice to do what He did.

Part of the problem of liberal Christianity, and of the thoughtlessly liberal secular bastard it spawned, is that everything is supposed to be forgivable.

No, it’s not.

The human brain is hardwired in such a way that we will kill those who threaten to harm us or ours. Sadly, pacifists have been selectively bred so that condescending compassion trumps all, even predatory killers. Even horrific murders fall before the all-powerful rubrics of politically correct thinking… or rather, feeling. None of these people actually think anymore.

Ms. Nicholson will remain a priest, working with a group of young people associated with music. Her work will serve to embody her daughter’s love of music. When Jenny died, she was in the midst of her musical studies and now her mother will continue them in a different way.

We can only hope for Jenny’s mother that she continue to hate these killers with the full, white-hot hatred they deserve. It is the fire of such hatred against evil that ensures the survival of good in the world.

If you are not willing to hate those who kill your children, what would you be willing to live for?


Hat tip: The Corner.

33 comments:

boinky said...

no, I wouldn't be able to forgive someone who killed my child. But as a doctor, I know that my patients who have been harmed by another need to forgive, or the hatred will destroy their souls, emotions, and eventually their bodies...
Forgiving is a decision...NOT an emotion. When the feeling of hatred bubbles up, you don't think you are evil and resign your job; and you don't repress the emotion and say you forgive, and let the hatred bubble inside. you go to the Lord and say: Lord, change my heart. Emotions can be healed, but it is not easy...FInally, the decision to forgive is not the same as not feeling any emotion, nor is it giving evil people a "get out of jail free" card.
It is asking God to see the one who did this terrible thing as he sees them, and knowing that since you did terrible things and he has forgiven you, that you too need the grace to forgive another...but the first step is to ask for the grace of forgiveness...
We Catholics are a bit better off, because when we are really really pissed at God, we can go to Mary and say: Mary, you lost a son too. I am pissed at God, help me to learn to forgive...

It's MY blog too! said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Exile said...

I followed the link to the article.
Here's a quote from it.

"I rage that a human being could choose to take another human's life. I rage that someone should do this in the name of a God," she said. "I find that utterly offensive"

And so do I, and so should we all find it utterly, utterly offensive.

Always On Watch said...

This is a heart-breaking story. Rev. Nicholson loses her beautiful daughter and now feels unworthy herself.

Of course she cannot forgive the atrocity committed!

Good point here: Jesus asked His Father to forgive his killers, but He never asked for the strength to forgive them Himself.

bioqubit said...

You have touched, unbeknownst, one of the cornerstones of Western culture that has enabled us to distinguish ourselves from the relentless and endless cycle of revenge that is the rest of the world.

The success of Western civilization has been built on the ability to forgive. Whatever mutated theological interpretations you may wish to float for your audience only dilutes and takes away from this basic and remarkable fact of Western civilization.

The elimination of the death penalty is not necessarily a firm commitment to forgiveness as a legal principle, nor is having the death penalty an abrogation of forgiveness. In his own way, Machiavelli understood this.

I agree with Boinky, forgiveness is a decision, not an emotion. Now, if your emotions make it impossible to forgive, well that is where you are, but I will argue that forgiveness was four square in the middle of all of Jesus's teachings and it has played a far more critical role in the Rise of the West than you think.

a4g said...

It seems that like so many things, it is definition of the terms that lies at the heart of the question.

In a world that was crafted by God, there can be nothing that is totally devoid of His presence. Nothing unredeemable, and therefore, nothing unforgivable.

But to say "forgive" is complex. It is not to embrace evil. The rote "I forgive the man that shot me" as one is wheeled into the ER is a perversion of forgiveness-- and in some sense, a way of not facing or even cowering in the presence of evil.

In some sense, the word "forgive" is totally inappropriate to the task at hand, for it is God alone that holds court over man. To publicly forgive is every bit as binding and useful as Charley Rangel holding unsanctioned "hearings" in the Congressional basement.

The component of forgiveness that is important is the internal struggle, the journey that drives home the point that God seems to never tire of reminding His poor jesters-- we are not in control; we are not as virtuous and strong as we would pretend.

Did Mary forgive the Romans or the Sanhedrin? She looking into their eyes and saw the folly of pride, of fear, of faithlessness. She loved the small kernal of God that still lived within them, she wept for the cancer of sin that had taken them, and she despised the evil that they had committed.

She opened herself bare and offered all to God.

Dymphna said...

Boinky-- I don't understand this sentence: no, I wouldn't be able to forgive someone who killed my child. But as a doctor, I know that my patients who have been harmed by another need to forgive, or the hatred will destroy their souls, emotions, and eventually their bodies...

are you saying that you could not do what you prescribe for your patients?

The long road of grief at the death of a child calls into question all of one's assumptions and there are times that hatred can be used in service of healing because it galvanizes the forces of life, rather than just allowing one to be pulled under the strong rip tides of sorrow.

The cognitive dissonance this priest experiences while celebrating the Eucharist suggests that eventually she will pull through this. But IMHO it will take longer if she leaves the field.

Forgiveness is *both* a decision and an emotion. It involves the whole person--psyche, soma, and spirit. It is never merely one part of the Self which has been thrown into that state of being.

I don't agree that we ask the Lord to change our heart in such a dark place. We simply surrender to His Presence because what we feel is so overwhelming as to be beyond words. It is lead, heavy beyond bearing.

When my daughter died I knew that while her death was "accidental" it was also aided and abetted by the person she was with, who took some of the methadone she had been prescribed for unrelenting migraines (she was allergic/intolerant to opiates in most forms). He was simply "partying" with my daughter's drugs and thus she ended up taking more than she would have...I believe she simply lost track and that he failed to protect her from her impaired condition. He was young and strong; she couldn't survive the challenge to her liver...as the autopsy showed subsequently.

Do I hate this man? I cannot say for sure. Seeing him causes in me the deepest revulsion I've ever felt. And that revulsion is from the very core of Self. I could no more "decide" not to be revulsed than I could fly...just because I want to flap my arms and take off doesn't make it possible.

One of the most dangerous tendencies in our culture is the rush to forgiveness; when I saw parents saying that at Columbine I was appalled. Those kids were barely in the ground, but the adults had to keep up with the politically correct emoting expected of them.

Hatred is lively. Premature forgiveness is far more corrosive than that.

Grace is simply that: grace. It is a gift and there is nothing we can do or say to earn it. If it comes, it comes. If it doesn't, we learn to live in the desert. Not thinking it deserved, but simply what it is...

...not all dark nights of the soul are accessible. Not all of them heal...

I am a Catholic; or was. Only left because staying married to a person with many, many problems was no longer possible. And taking the easy way out --annulment(which was offr=erred to me)-- seemed to be a message to my children that their lives weren't *as* legitimate as others. But having been raised by nuns, I am Catholic to the bone. Hell, I never even sang a hymn in English until middle school.

OTOH, I do believe in the efficacy of intervention and the communion of saints, if one defines "belief"
as a practice I use frequently. But God gets my wrath along with all my other emotions because sometimes, from my limited perspective He most certainly does deserve all of who I am.

If God is love then God is changed in our relationship, too. He, in love with his creation, is moved by it. Move is change...along with Whitehead and the process theologians, I believe that love is on-going, dynamic and chaotically open-ended.

Dymphna said...

One more thing: forgiveness is indeed a cornerstone of Western culture. This priest is not seeking revenge, she is simply immersed in her hatred, which is giving her the strength to go on.

When Jesus said we should turn the other cheek, he was making reference to Jewish law, which says we do not seek revenge. He was not saying we should lie down in front of bulldozers.

Rev Nicholson is not seeking revenge. She is seeking solace and she can no longer find it in celebrating the Eucharist so she's moved to doing something that embodies what her daughter lived for.

And perhaps, in time, she can be a force for good in changing the lethally multi-culti atmosphere that has brought Britain to its knees. Britain is a good example of forgiveness and tolerance carried to a toxic extreme.

Uncle Pavian said...

I'm not about to tell a grieving mother how she should behave. (No, not even women unhinged by the deaths of their children in their countries' wars, and we've certainly seen enough of them lately.) But my experience suggests that there comes a point where hate and the desire for revenge are counterproductive. Captain Ahab comes to mind.
I think this was the message God was trying to get across to the prophet in the fourth chapter of Jonah. Notice though, that the citizens of Nineveh repented while the Islamo-fruitcake element has done no such thing.
This is not an argument for letting criminals go free. As they said in "O Brother Where Art Thou",
Pete: The Preacher said it absolved us.
Everett: For him, not for the law. I'm surprised at you, Pete, I gave you credit for more brains than Delmar.
Delmar: But they was witnesses that seen us redeemed.
Everett: That's not the issue Delmar. Even if that did put you square with the Lord, the State of Mississippi's a little more hard-nosed.

Since "the Lord trieth the reins", and we don't know whether a claim of repentance is legitimate, capital punishment is, and should be, still on the table. Especially in Texas, where they execute repentant and unrepentant murderers alike. There is a difference between what the law does or should do but doesn't and how we as individuals respond.
I would offer the observation that when I've experienced disasters and tragedies, fasting and prayer has helped me more than reading books about forgiveness. But that's just me.

Dymphna said...

all right a4g...you, as usual, can say in fewer words what I was lamely trying to get across.

So how come as an atheist you can understand something from the inside like that?

The Hound of Heaven is chasing you, man. Better keep running.

Archonix said...

What history we have from that period records that Nenevah was destroyed 70 or so years after Jonah's visit. Their eventual punishment was still meted out, but their repentance presumably granted that generation a reprieve. Consider it in a spiritual context and it becaomes clear that the city, collectively was corrupted, even if individuals repented. Can we be certain they all were genuine? It's doubtful. But, as god said to Abram, back when that was his name, if there's only one who is for him in a place, he holds off his wrath.

I don't have children - we're waiting a year - but I know I'd have a hard time forgiving someone who killed any children I might have. But... I think, eventually, I'd be able to do it. That wouldn't make me like them or want to see them, nor would it change any pursuit of justice against them. Forgiveness, for a large part, rests on repentence. It's possible for me to keep forgiving someone but it doesn't make any difference if they refuse to acknowledge their sins. The same with God, I believe, who forgives unconditionally inasmuch as we have to then repent and acknowledge our sins. Forgiveness is an act of giving away your hatred and anger; in the christian context, you give that anger to God and he deals with it. Anything else is a matter for the courts.

Incidentally the act of turning the other cheek isn't to do with jewish law, but from the social role that slapping played in life. The words Jesus use indicate that was speaking specifically about being bakc-handed which, in that culture, was a statement of dominance by the person doing the beating. Turning the other cheek forced them to hit you again with the same had, but with an open palm, forcing them to acknowledge your equality and humanity.

William said...

Just pondering, with no satire or sarcasm intended, but:

“How does one forgive the Devil?”

texasviolinist said...

Some misunderstanding on what it means to forgive: Has this poor pastor decided to provide a rent free space in her head to a bunch of maniac shit heads? Are they going to drag her down for the rest of her life? Shame on her for letting the thugs to continue to own a piece of her. She can stand for righteousness, she can stand for justice and everything else worth standing for and still forgive them.

When the Lord taught us to pray he said forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. If we are sinless we can own vengeance but we never will be. Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord because His Son bought it and he paid the full price for it.

Do not pervert Christianity.

Dymphna said...

William--

Good point! I wonder what C.S. Lewis would answer.

Archonix--

Judaism in that period was a theocracy, therefore it's probably not possible to separate the social from religious practice. As cultures mature, that does happen, however...

Uncle P--

Your practice of fasting and prayer sounds spot on. It's one that has fallen out of use, but the combination does change one at some cellular level.

OTOH, revenge is differentiated from hatred for me. I have no desire to seek revenge on my daughter's "helper." I just want to avoid him and to attempt to undo the damage he has wreaked in her children's lives.

Revenge is a waste of time for me...though when I was younger that wasn't always so.

Dymphna said...

Texas violinist--

"Perversion" is a strong word. It's one of those words which continue to fragment Christianity -- when one person decided another's belief system is perverted what you have is a vying for power to see who has the "correct" interpretation.

One does not let someone else live rent free in their heads when, as in this case, the murderer has actually invaded the space in our heart formerly occupied by our beloved child.

Have you ever lost a child as the result of someone blowing them up? Have you talked to any of the parents of those people who died in 9/11?

Those "shithead maniacs" as you call them don't own a piece of her. In fact, the opposite is true: they irretrievibly obliterated a piece of her and by doing so, invaded her soul. Now she's trying to figure out how to continue on without that beloved piece of herself whilst maintaining her sanity and faith.

If my view is perverted, sir, yours is sadly simplistic.

Shellback said...

What a powerful thread. I only wish I had to time to fashion an adequate response.

This is a topic that has occuppied many souls over thousands of years. One thing is clear to me, though. Scripture teaches that forgiveness, hard as it may seem, has two purposes. The first is to break the cycle of revenge between people (the horizontal component, if you will), and the second is to facilitate the process of reconciliation we need with our Heavenly Father (the vertical component). The two move hand-in-hand, and refusal to act in one of the components naturally retards progress in the other. Jesus teaches us this in so many words - revisit the parable of the man forgiven the equivalent of $1,000,000, who wouldn't forgive a man who owed him about $50.

It would be very presumptious to pass judgement on this vicar, but I admire her for recognizing the impact her example sets by virtue of her status as an ordained minister. Her stature is increased, rather than diminished, by taking this step. Most of us should be whispering a quiet "there but for the grace of God go I". In this act she draws closer to the solution our Lord has for her. She has made the first tentative steps towards being made whole.

This whole episode, though, is an opportunity to contrast the purpose and working out of the Christian concept of forgiveness and justice against that of those who only know blood-oaths, tribalism, revenge, and the meting out of harsh justice by a harsh god.

In the Koran there are many attributes assigned to Allah, but one. And that is "love".

And that one alone makes all the difference in this clash between two civilisations.

airforcewife said...

Can forgiveness be separate from justice? I'm not sure that it can. And not necessarily the justice that we each would mete out of our own volition to those who harm us, because justice involves more than just "hitting someone back."

I can't help but think that Rev. Nicholson's dilemma might in part be due to our society's inability to embrace what is good and shun what is evil. Yes, yes, there have been numerous cries of how terrible the act that took her daughter was... but... And that's the problem - there seems to always be a "but" that tries to point the blame of the act back on the victims. Not personally, but as a collective.

The experiences I've had with mil-spouses who have lost their beloved (while a different proposition than the Rev. because there was a lot more choice involved in the matter) is that those who believe that justice will be done do not suffer as much from the poisonous hate.

From those who have served with those who have died (we had one funeral last week my husband attended), there is indeed anger, but it is not "white hot." It is more of a need for justice. Not vengeance, but justice. That justice is not just to "even the scales" for those who have gone before, but to prevent those who might be harmed in the future.

Megan said...

I believe that you can forgive someone who harms you, or your relatives/friends, and at the same time expect that justice will be served. Of course, this would be difficult...it's a matter of recognizing that someone must be accountable for their actions and that includes accepting consequences.

Forgiveness for me isn't about the perpetrator. It is about the victim and the person doing the forgiving. Is there anything that I couldn't forgive? Probably ... and I'm sure the loss of a child would inspire incredible rage, pain, sorrow, and the inability to forgive. But I also think that would eat at me, to my detriment.

The 'peaceniks' drive me nuts. A recent radio interview included a woman working for a group trying to get rid of the death penalty. Her logic was so convoluted and wishy washy. I could hardly listen to her w/o getting angry. The man she said didn't deserve to die had RAPED and MURDERED A 12 YEAR OLD GIRL!!! How does such a monster NOT deserve death? It defies logic.

Shellback said...

Hating with a white-hot anger only consumes, and the the light it generates only serves to focus outsiders on the melt-down in progress.

Rather a "white-hot resolve". To hate is to murder (Jesus linked the two, and His assessment was correct, although often overlooked). That's what separates the West's prosecution of WWII vs. Hitler's and Tojo's initial forays into conquering their neighbors with unimaginable cruelty. Think of it as stopping an alligator from biting you in half. You don't actually hate the animal, for that is what that particular animal does, but you must take all measures necessary to stop it from acting out its nature to your detriment.

Islamism is no different. If I hate them, I am no better than they. I am called to forgive, but I am also called to protect my family and a way of life which (hopefully) does not dishonor God. I must resolve to make my response commensurate with that mandate.

JFP said...

While I would agree that forgiveness and believing in a God of love have helped the West, being critical has also helped. Unfortunately, the West is now dominated by elites who are half-critical: they are critical of others in the West but are never critical of themselves.

And that idea perhaps will help this mother. Instead of reading books on forgiveness or fasting or praying, perhaps she should be self-critical and focus on her own sins. I can't guarantee her anything, but it has helpled me.

Muslihoon said...

I disagree her inability to forgive makes her unfit to serve. When she serves in persona Christis, which is what various Churches believe the priest is, she represents God but it would be utterly ridiculous to claim that she must be just like Him. We're all sinners, and yet a sinner represents God: he/she is not expected to be perfect.

As such, she ought to ask God for the strength to forgive and for God to pardon her if she is unable to forgive. But the fact she cannot forgive should in no way invalidate her position.

Indeed, Christian Churches have traditionally held that rites are valid regardless of the celebrant's worthiness thereof. If a priest sins, his rites are still valid. God cannot be blocked by one who serves as His vessel, filthy though it may be (and indeed, as long as it is through a human, it will be a filthy vessel).

Furthermore, I hold that there is a fundamental difference between forgiveness and excuse. The Lord has, indeed, commanded us to forgive, but never has He said we are to excuse another in their sin. The Lord has condemned sin, and so should we. From Scripture we can see that the Lord is adamantly opposed to the reign of sin, and so we must be just as adamantly opposed to the reign of any regime of sin, including Islamic terrorism. I would go so far as to say that for a Christian to excuse Islamic terrorism would be to utterly pervert the essence of good and evil. What is good, we must call good. What is evil, we must call evil. And as fellow Christians united in a common bond of faith, it is incumbent on us - especially those of us in positions of leadership - to unequivocally and clearly condemn and abjure sin and evil.

defender said...

There is much interesting discussion here that should lead us to further contemplate what might be viewed as a cross-roads for western civilization. I find portions of the reverend’s perceived theological/moral/ethical dilemma a bit puzzling. Since my children are, for the moment, safe and sound, I cannot claim to truly understand the reverend’s suffering and my comments are not intended to make light of the horror she endures. Additionally, I may not be completely equipped to debate the finer theological points of forgiveness as it applies to the relationships between individual mortal men however here are my ‘two cents.’

Perhaps the most stunning fact illustrated by the reverend’s words in the news article is that only after her own daughter was killed did she came face-to-face with the reality of evil and its existence in the world today. But still, she cannot see it for what it is, for her concern still remains on her self-centered complaint of being “personally offended.” She admits to being enraged by the realization that “a human being could choose to take another’s life… I find it utterly offensive.” Murder has been an artifact of the human condition for quite some time now and I am discouraged to learn that only after the violent taking of her own daughter does the reverend set down the fluffy platitudes (“lead people in words of peace and reconciliation and forgiveness”) and attempt to come to an understanding of the enormity of evil. What about the thousands of others taken from us in the name of the Muslim god? Were those actions not “offensive” to us all? More importantly, were those actions not indicative of the fundamental presence of evil despite our efforts to teach love, goodness and reconciliation? The existence of evil cannot be wished away by our good intentions to make man better.

Brainwashed western societies have written off the existence of evil. Instead the only badness that remains in the world today is the potential to be personally offended. We are extremely focused on the idea that we should be able to proceed through life without ever being “offended” and all efforts of justice are focused on keeping score of personal offense vs. forgiveness.

How did we get here? We arrived at this deluded state by listening to those who claim that there is no God - for that is only old fashioned mythology, they say. Further, if there is no God, then the concept of evil, and ultimately the concept of good, is meaningless. Finally, to round out the worldview of secular humanism, the only measure of goodness is the state of relationships between individual men where actions by individuals that do not infringe upon the ‘rights’ of other, non-consenting individuals are neither good or bad and cannot be measured on any moral scale.

I conclude that the reverend’s church has been deeply invaded by secular humanism as the reigning philosophy with little knowledge remaining about the nature of God, the nature of man, and the nature of our fallen world. It is disturbing to read this account of such emphatic concern over a presumed moral imperative to ‘forgive’ the very incarnation of evil.

From my perspective as a father, when beasts, or barbarians, threaten to harm our children, it is a moral imperative to eliminate the threat. It is as simple as that. If we fail in protecting our own and the barbarian succeeds in killing our child, the moral imperative to eliminate the threat still exists. It is not out of vengeance or hatred toward the person that committed the evil act but out of duty to protect our family and community. Perhaps this is one way to state what is known as the Just War theory. Ultimately, the question of forgiveness of the barbarians is not ours to contemplate.

texasviolinist said...

Jesus preached love and forgiveness. Mohammed preached hate and vengeance.

Simplistic?

Seeking God's love and forgiveness is the easy part of the gospel of repentance. Forgiving those who trespass against us is the very hardest part of that gospel.

I feel very sorry for this poor pastor. She deserves our love and support. She doesn't need anyone to fan the flames that naturally rage in her as she finally makes her peace with God over this horrific injustice.

One Federalist said...

Good post, well stated.

Sir Edmund Burke said it best:

"A kind Providence has placed in our breasts a hatred of the unjust and cruel, in order that we may preserve ourselves from cruelty and injustice. They who bear cruelty, are accomplices in it. The pretended gentleness which excludes that charitable rancour, produces an indifference which is half an approbation. They never will love where they ought to love, who do not hate where they ought to hate."
Letters on a Regicide Peace, Letter 4

Mr. Spog said...

Interesting and important discussion. I happened to be reading a major writer from the Rev. Nicholson's own Anglican church, William Temple (d. 1944?), not long ago. His view is that the purpose of forgiveness is the restoration of fellowship and that there is no commandment to forgive anyone who has not genuinely repented of his actions (though ideally one should always be ready to encourage such repentance with friendly overtures). I think this is more or less the prevailing Christian view as well, among those Christians who have bothered to study what their own authorities say on the matter(?). Apparently, Anglican priests are now ignorant of such basics.

(Temple also says that forgiveness does not abolish debts, at least from the point of view of the offender. If I have harmed a friend, I will want to make good the damage, if possible, once I am restored to fellowship with him, even more than I would if I was not restored to fellowship.)

Also, it seems obvious that one cannot forgive someone for harm inflicted on someone else, such as one's child—only for one's own loss. (Though to a Christian I suppose death itself should not be a great misfortune.)

Dymphna said...

Mr. Spog:

You hit the theological nail right on its head:
the purpose of forgiveness is the restoration of fellowship and that there is no commandment to forgive anyone who has not genuinely repented of his actions.

Forgiveness on any other basis is a kind of spiritual arrogance which is, paradoxically, also spineless.

Jesus was a mensch. A mensch forgives in very specific instances of mutual reconciliation and the murderers of this girl had no intention of ever reconciling with any hated kafir. That was the whole point of the bombing. Not to reconcile, but to obliterate.

For years I could not forgive my former husband for what he did to me. I prayed for it, but I could not will it and I could not feel it. I just wanted it so I could be free of his malign experience. Then, amazingly, one morning I woke up and realized I had been a participant, a volunteer in the victim/perpetrator domestic terrorism. So there was nothing to forgive if I didn't forgive myself first. Seeing it that way made it simply melt away...forgiveness was moot.

...of course, I must still deal with the pain of my children's hurts in this. I accept responsibility but it is hard.

Forgiveness may be the most mis-understood of human interactions. It is certainly not simple.

Dr. Schmenghs said...

I am glad to see thet she is not a hypocrite. She understands her anger within, and chooses to willingly leave her position because of conflict of interest.

Those responsable for the attacks, probably are not as sophisticated as her and certainly do not forgive. That's the pill to swallow.

texasviolinist said...

Forgiving someone doesn't mean you have to condone their sin. It doesn't mean you have to become their bosom buddy. It isn't some sort of Stockholm syndrome of tolerance. In fact you can continue to reject the person and their offenses. Forgiving someone means that you will not let their sins divert you from righteousness. Forgiveness means that you abandon vengeance while you still seek justice. You don't need to stand by and let someone continue to offend. You must protect yourself and seek the protection of others. Misunderstanding forgiveness may keep one from receiving forgiveness.

Dan M said...

The Devil cannot find forgiveness because of the ETERNAL IMPACT AND NATURE OF HIS DECISION.

WE have never seen God, we've never stood before the wonder of the Almighty, before whom the Angels sing endlessly: "Holy, Holy, Holy" in wonder, awe and amazement.

Thus the nature of the sins of man have allowed for us an out, which the Almighty has provided, his son, his message, his truth, the saving power of his sacrifice.

But for the Devil, who gazed at God, who saw God, who never wanted for intelligence, whose gifts were otherworldly, for him, after all of that, to turn away from the vision of God, and turn in on himself, and WORSHIP HIMSELF, AND DESIRE OTHERS TO WORSHIP HIM AS WELL, then as Christ said: "I saw Lucifer fall like LIGHTENING...."

The decision was eternal, and the gravity was such that Hell itself, which DID NOT PREVIOUSLY EXIST, came into being, for him, and for those who beckoned to his call.

And thus the opposites: Lucifer crying out: "Who is like UNTO ME," answered by Michael, his peer in glory, "WHO IS LIKE UNTO GOD!"

All of us are sinners, in desperate need for the understanding of our Creator, and for his forgiveness, and for his healing powers to be extended over us.

BUT THERE ARE SOME who reject the overture of God himself.

THUS EMBRACING THE IRREVOCABLE nature of the decision of Satan, and thus likewise receiving his eternal punishment.

The Catholic Church has not left man unable to understand the punishment of Satan, nor the punishment of those that reject Christ, reject God, reject the promptings of the Natural Law.

Hell is the ultimate tribute that God pays to the freedom he has bestowed on ALL of his children.

The Angels are pure spirit, but vested with supernatural intelligence, which for some, led to their undoing. The animal world is one of flesh, but not possessed of soul and mind, although we are told that they too "groan" with expectation awaiting the redemption of man, and of the earth itself.

But man is the median between the angel and the animal.

And this has saved us. For as he said upon the Cross, "Father forgive them, FOR THEY KNOW NOT what they do...."

If our knowledge were as comprehensive as that of Satan, then our punsihment would be equally comprehensive, id est, eternal.

Dan M said...

St. Augustine wrote long ago, "those that love well, hate well." Recall the depths that were stirred within Christ, when he saw the pain and suffering caused by the death of his friend Lazarus. This suffering, the wages of death, the wages of sin moved him deeply AND PASSIONATELY.

So much so that almost in anger, he called forth Lazarus from the tomb, to the stupefaction of all present.

St. Thomas Aquinas, another Doctor of the Church, {one of about 20} said that "the punishment of the wicked, IS PRAISEWORTHY."

Justice requires an equilibrium, and man's being was created to live in justice, in that equilibrium, which when thrown into chaos, into unbalance, bewilders him.

Part of the problem that I have with forgiveness is NOT seeing justice done. KNOWING A WRONG TO HAVE BEEN COMMITTED, KNOWING FULL WELL THE DEPTH OF PAIN CAUSED BY THAT WRONG, and then seeing nothing visible done about that wrong, is profoundly troubling.

The Reverend sees her society bestirring itself to seek justice. BUT FOR MANY, wrongs are performed, and they see nothing. Sometimes, they see the wrongdoer prosper, go on and lead an apparently happy and successful life.

Evil is a mystery indeed, mysterium inequitatis, the mystery of inequity.

erico said...

I like to think I can handle myself pretty well in this world. I can suffer its slings and arrows. But you take away my son, and I fear that all would be lost.

Nobody ever told me that when a child is born, your heart is taken from its fortification and is placed in a small, vulnerable person whose safey you cannot guarantee. Now I am vulnerable, too, because I love.

I have screamed at God pre-emptively, tempted Him, I have doubted His existence in the face of evil, I have called Him down, demanded, and then begged, for an answer, knowing quite consciously that in the world that I know there will be no great light opening up in the heavens (though others have received miracles).

A parent's worst fear; for me only imagined, feared, for some here, lived.

If there were no heaven, we would have to invent it to cope with this deep need to go on loving, remembering.

I would like to say softly, May the God of Life be with you and one day reunite you with your loved ones.

"No the circle, won't be broken, by and by Lord, by and by"

Dan M said...

Lastly, some of has confused ANGER with HATRED.

Anger can blaze at white heat, and not cross over, or become HATE.

Sometimes there is a RIGHTEOUS element to anger.

Anger CAN OFT BE HEALTHY.

The lack of it, can oft be evidence of decadence, decay, degeneracy.

And between those poles of HATE AND ANGER, there exists a tension, a distinctly CATHOLIC tension.

The other thing that should be mentioned is that some of us speak of us having to make our peace with God, as if he were NOT THE PRIMARY PARTY INVOLVED IN THE ACTION.

Whatever love a mother might have for her child, whatever love Romeo might have had for Juliet, Nelson for his England, Audie Murphy for the men in his platoon, whatever devotion Wojtyla might have had for Poland, IS NOTHING COMPARED TO THE INEFFABLE love that the Almighty OVERFLOWS with.

And that love, as we see in the person of Christ, is an avenue into the lacerated heart of the Trinity itself. That is why in the Catholic Church there is representation of Christ's HEART, PIERCED THROUGH, with a lance.

It's not simply historical, but metaphorical.

Recall what St Therese Liseux said on her death bed, when her friends tried to comfort her by saying soon she would be in Heaven, seeing the angels, and the sights in Heaven. Which drew forth a snort of derision from her, because that wasn't what she wanted. Which prompted this question from her friends: "Well what is it then?" And Therese answered: "It's the LOVE that I shall be able to give, and the Love that I shall be able to receive...." She knew that our ability to comprehend love, AND THUS SUFFERING, is painfully narrowed, straitened, limited, while we are here in this mortal coil.

Heaven is an aspect of the soul, as well as a "place."

Concluding then, when the Reverend's daughter was killed, LONG BEFORE SHE EVEN KNEW OF IT IN FACT, LONG BEFORE IT EVEN HAPPENED, LONG BEFORE IT EVEN ENTERED INTO THE HEAD OF THE KILLERS, THE loving heart of the Trinity itself grieved, and grievs still.

Dan M said...

Love is the equal to the grave, and fierce passion far more formidible than death itself. For death is the work of sin, whereas passion flows from love, which flows from the power of creativity, the power of God himself.

And thus in love man is allowed the view beyond the grave, beyond his pain, even if that pain is more than temporary.

Love makes us vulnerible, but also grants us strength, and hope. And thus by Love and Hope, we become unconquerable, we become fortresses to the attacks of Satan, however they may wound us. And though we see not his frustration at ruining us, at dragging us down to share in his agony, nonetheless his frustration exists, at how love, has made us strong.

And this is all a divine paradox.