Reaching for the snooze button on my alarm-clock radio, I heard news that would send me back nearly ten years.
It was a bright, beautiful September morning, I was sitting in my car in the Shopko parking lot; I needed a binder. I remember being shocked; telling myself that what was being said on the radio was a bad comedy skit by a couple of misguided radio hosts. Sadly, it wasn’t. There was an “accident” in New York.
It wasn’t too shortly thereafter I remember first hearing the name Osama Bin Laden.
On a chilly May morning, nearly ten years later, the news crackling through the radio told me that Osama Bin Laden was dead. My reaction wasn’t what I anticipated. Not at all.
I figured the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death would bring me elation; a sense that justice had finally been served on the man who planned the deaths of nearly 3,000 innocent men and women. Instead, I prayed. I prayed for his soul. I prayed that he had an opportunity to repent of his life’s sins. Only a day after the Feast of Divine Mercy, I prayed that he found and trusted in the love and mercy of our Lord.
As I thought more about my unanticipated reaction it started to make more sense. We are to pray for our brothers and sisters, especially those that would do us or others harm – in other words sinners. I guess more clearly stated, everyone; we are to pray for everyone. Those in Guantanamo, those in prison, those with addiction, those who gossip…the list goes on.
But mostly I thought about those who harm others, and not just the Bin Ladens of the world. I thought about how much they need our prayers.
I thought of the profound effects of prayer. Conversion. Repentance. Grace. Mercy. I thought about Abby Johnson’s story; how she went from running an abortion center to being welcomed with open arms into the Catholic Church. How through prayer, those who engage in or support (explicitly and/or implicitly) the genocide – when you reach tens of millions lost, this word seems appropriate – of the unborn through abortion may come to a moment of conversion and ask for and receive forgiveness.
If St. Paul can convert, we all can.
The Lord told Saint Faustina that he was a God of mercy, not judgment. May we all trust in the mercy of the Lord.
St. Faustina, pray for us.
St. Therese of Lisieux, pray for us.
Blessed John Paul II, pray for us.