A Scandalous Mercy

A Scandalous Mercy

“If Hitler repented before he died, after all he had done, would he be able to go to Heaven?”

You know, just some light, casual conversations on a Friday afternoon.

“Yes, if he repented….You don’t like that answer, do you?”
“No, I think he should be in Hell.”

“Let me ask you a question,” I said, knowing that sometimes asking questions is the only way to escort them to the doorstep of truth. “Where do you draw the line? How many people can someone kill or order killed and get to Heaven?”

“Ummm….none.”
“So nobody who has ever killed anyone could have a conversion and go to Heaven?”
“No.”
“Are there any other sins that you think God should be unable to forgive?”
“No.”
“But do you see the problem with choosing what is too much for God to forgive?” And he did, but he still wasn’t convinced that God should forgive Hitler if he repented.

This interaction prompted a much longer conversation than I expected. Our starting point was the Gospel for this upcoming Sunday and it bothered some that the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the wandering son were all received with joy and the ones that remained weren’t so celebrated. The father in Luke’s Gospel extending abundant mercy to the younger son was troublesome and annoying to them. Why does the one who wanders get a party and the one who stays gets nothing?

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Movie Love

“I think I’m falling in love with you.”

That line from a movie should be captivating and romantic but at that specific point in the movie I found it utterly—belated and ridiculous.  So far the movie had been mindless albeit slightly different from other chick flicks that I’ve seen, but it came to a necessary aspect in nearly every modern romantic movie.  Boy and girl become very passionate and end up in bed together with no ring on their fingers to make this a marital embrace but rather an over-glorified way to use the other person.  In this particular movie, the guy and girl are in bed and as she is going to tell him something, he looks her in the eyes and huskily admits, “I think I’m falling in love with you.”

My response?  A few short disbelieving laughs and an overwhelming sense of sadness.  You think that you are falling in love with her?  Aren’t those words (or perhaps simply “I love you”) supposed to come before you say those words with the language of the body?  I think the effect is supposed to elicit a response of “Awwww!”  But instead it makes me realize how far we have fallen.  The pinnacle of expressing one’s love for the other person is not found in virtuously denying oneself for the good of the other but rather in letting passion consumed oneself.

The romantic movies that are produced by the mainstream media always leave me less than fulfilled.  The man could be strikingly handsome and the girl witty and smart yet as soon as they fall into the cliché that love = sex, I find myself saddened inside.  If this is what the media is hailing as natural and love, then I shouldn’t be surprised at the decay of the culture.  The dignity of the human person is not upheld as it should be.  When I see a romantic movie it would be nice if I didn’t have to say, “That was good.  Except for….”  Or to think that it would be exactly the love story I would want if only they had shown virtue and a desire for the good of the other person.  Instead I typically leave with this odd feeling that is half wistful and half disgusted. 

I am a romantic by nature–perhaps not discoverable exteriorly but definitely found within my heart.  I want a wonderful love story and a love that is unending.  Yet I do not find myself agreeing with the only romance Hollywood knows how to offer.  Rather I begin to feel that I must be one of a small contingent that has a radically different view of love.  A purer, deeper, truer but far less exalted type of love.  The modern day romantic “fairy tale” ending is ridiculously trite.  In fact, it would be far more innovative for Hollywood to begin to use the oft-forgotten tale of the man and woman who show their radical love for one another within the embrace of Holy Matrimony.

This weekend I found a song with which I have fallen in love.  Her voice is beautiful and the lyrics are true.  It leaves me with a desire to be married yet with none of the bad aftertaste found in the typical mainstream music and society.  Relish this piece of true beauty!

While writing this I also thought of how if we want to transform the media and the culture, we must be willing to support places that are striving to do just that.  I want to see a change in what is being offered in the culture but if I do not support them, how are they to succeed?  So just when I needed it, I received an invitation to support a movie that speaks of the dignity of the human person.  I accepted the invitation and I would like to extend it to you.  While it isn’t speaking of the human sexuality of the person being trampled upon, it nevertheless is speaking about the inherent dignity of each individual regardless of the context of the situation.  Please support them in prayer and money and pass it along to your friends and family.  If we want to see this culture change, it will be through a group effort.  And it will require sacrifice.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/450183161/frohe-ostern-movie?ref=live

P.S. God is ridiculously and madly in love with you.  He is pouring His mercy out upon you but He needs you to accept this mercy and glory in it.  This unfathomable love doesn’t really make sense–but that is probably why it is called “Divine Mercy.”  No mere human person is capable of that kind of love and mercy.  But glory to God we have a God who not only provides for the weak and the lowly (i.e. you and me) but loves to do that. 

For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Roots

I’ve never read the book but I am in love with the title of a book that goes to the effect of “The Appalling Strangeness of the Mercy of God.”  That seems to be my life.  I am convinced that if God gave me everything I asked for, I would be extremely miserable.  Yet I still ask for things, unsure if they are desires of my own or of God.  He has shielded me from many injuries and pains because He alone understands my tender heart.  There are experiences that I have never had because of God in His wisdom and mercy.  While I often criticize God for holding out on me, I know He has my best interests in mind.  Even now as I am treading water wondering where I am to go or do, I know He has a beautiful plan.  But this heart of mine is quick to doubt and worry.  I find myself feeling very alone and isolated.  I live at home but I feel that I don’t have a home at times. 

Where am I to be?  Where do I plant roots? 

For some reason the answer for me doesn’t seem to simply be to build a foundation where I lived the first eighteen years of my life.  Home isn’t home.  While I don’t want to leave, I’m not certain how much I want to stay.  I know that “no man is an island” but I feel as though I am a fish swimming in the river, joining up with one school before transitioning to another.  Not forsaken or alone but not tied down.  I am beginning to understand the great desire my heart has to be bound to something or someone.  The media portrays women as independent and never desiring to be anybody’s anything.  Yet how deeply I do!  I want a promise of forever.  My mind and heart long for marriage but I think my truest heart is calling out for Jesus.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

If God were to lead me to a different school every year then I would need to rely solely on God.  The problem is that it is tiring.  Life is a constant battle and I often love that idea and relish the thought of fighting.  But then I get tired and what I long for most ardently is eternal rest.  Perhaps all of these desires are true and natural, maybe even desired by God.  The necessary aspect is to submit to God’s will.  My identity is rooted most securely in Him.  Regardless of what may come, I can always be convinced of being His daughter, His creation, His love.  This is where I am right now and I cannot know what the future holds.  Despite the plethora of uncertainties, I can assuredly know that I have a home that will never be taken from me–nestled in the Eucharistic heart of my Lord.