On days like today when tragedy is paraded across TV screens and newspapers, stretching the limits of our tolerance, urging us to respond with outrage, calls for justice, revenge and worse – it is these days when we must look up to Heaven and cry out for strength and wisdom, not vengeance. I offer this quote for Henri Nouwen to guide our thoughts and emotions as we deal with a world gripped by evil, desperately in need of grace and mercy.
The apostle Paul writes to the Romans: “Bless your persecutors; never curse them, bless them. … Never pay back evil with evil. … Never try to get revenge. … If your enemy is hungry, give him something to eat; if thirsty, something to drink. … Do not be mastered by evil, but master evil with good” (Romans 12:14-21). These words cut to the heart of the spiritual life. They make it clear what it means to choose life, not death, to choose blessings, not curses. But what is asked of us here goes against the grain of our human nature. We will only be able to act according to Paul’s words by knowing with our whole beings that what we are asked to do for others is what God has done for us.” – Henri Nouwen