Gods Mercy Never Ceases

By Nancy Brouillard McKenzie, Ignatian Volunteer

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,

for his mercy endures forever. PS 118:1-2.

My Nana told her young grandchildren very little about her hard life before coming to the United States. We also did not know about the cousin’s family that had paid for her passage, employed her as their maid, and treated her cruelly.

On April 15, 2013, I was waiting near the finish line of the Boston Marathon to see my daughter finish the race. My family called me to let me know that she had finished earlier and that I should go to our meeting point. While we were driving to where we were staying, two bombs detonated, one of which was at the spot where I was waiting.

Later on September 16, 2013, my other daughter was in a lockdown at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. Subsequently, law enforcement would find and kill the sniper who had killed 12 people and injured three others.

I am telling you these stories because God has abundantly blessed my family with his mercy and wisdom, which at times has moved me to tears. PS 118:1-2.

Nana left that cruel family and created a new life for herself. As a witness to God’s merciful love, she wanted nothing to do with revenge because it was useless, caused even more fear and anxiety, and led to further problems. Indeed, she believed that “one upping” the people who hurt you with a large act of kindness sent a more powerful message.

On Easter, we hear both the angel who rolled back the stone to show Jesus’ empty tomb to Mary Magdalene and later the risen Christ on his way to Galilee tell those women, “Do not be afraid.” MT 28:5, 9-10.  Witnessing God’s mercy toward my family humbled me, removed my fear, let me cry with thanksgiving, and opened me to the joy of God’s grace in my life.

Yet, how can I tell the defenseless victims who faced death and incomprehensible violence from the bombs and chemical gas in Syria and the bombs in Egypt that God’s mercy endures forever?

Father Patrick Cunningham, the Columban Justice and Peace coordinator in Korea, is known for his work on the “Save Jeju” campaign to prevent militarization of Korea’s Jeju Island. Last year, he represented the Columbans at a meeting in Rome sponsored by Pax Christi International and the Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace.

At that gathering, Father Cunningham worked with religious and lay leaders from around the world to respond to Pope Francis’ directive to create new and effective paradigms that would open the Church to a more transformative “Nonviolence and Just Peace” process.

While that is just a beginning, it is one way to promote peace and serious dialogue between opposing parties without bloodshed, opening them to God’s mercy and grace. I pray that the Nonviolence and Just Peace model help make that happen.   

Weekly Reflections on Justice is produced by the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach staff, volunteers, interns, Columban parishioners, Columban Missionaries, and friends of the Columbans. We hope these reflections help to guide you in your own spiritual journey working toward justice, peace, and the integrity of creation.

[Picture Caption: Columban Fr Patrick Cunningham saying mass in Gangjeong village on the southern coast of Jeju Island]