Monday, May 2, 2011

Mercy is never easy to understand

Like most people in our country and perhaps the entire world, I am still trying to process last nights news of the demise of the United States number one enemy, Osama Bin Laden. As I watched the details unfold on TV and then the somber speech of our President, I wasn't sure how I was supposed to feel. Was I supposed to be relieved, happy, thankful? As a Christian, who values human life without exception, would I have rather they had captured him alive? Truthfully I don't know how to feel. I just know that seeing newspaper headlines that state "May he rot in Hell" didn't make me feel good at all. My Catholic faith and love for Jesus and all he taught does not allow me to pass judgment. It's gravely sinful to wish eternal condemnation on any living soul no matter who they are or what they have done. I can't speculate on his eternal sentence because truthfully it's very possible that he asked for mercy in the end. It's possible that he received it.

Honestly, when I think about whether the world is better off with or without Bin Laden, that answer is easy. He never stopped planning to kill. He said many times over the past 10 years how happy he was with the outcome of 9/11 and promised more attacks. I'm not sure exactly what evil looks like but that man is as close as I can imagine a disciple of Satan would be. And now that evil has been removed. How could I be unhappy about that?

And yet it saddens me to see so many people rejoicing and praising the death of a human being. I do understand the motivation behind it but I can't join in. Our Lord is never happy to lose a soul, if that is indeed what happened. Jesus loved the sinners as much as the faithful. He came to convert the wicked and forgive their sins. He said that over and over again and proved it in his actions. He would expect nothing less than that from all of us. And so I hope that Bin Laden repented.

I went to Mass this morning and prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet. I prayed it in honor of all of the souls who were lost on 9/11. I prayed for their families and for everyone affected by the horror of that day. I prayed for all the soldiers and their families who have been affected in the past 10 years because of the actions of one man's hatred. And I prayed to our Lord for the strength to understand the infinite beauty of his Mercy.