Tuesday, June 3, 2008
All Mercy, All the Time
Although the semester is over, I found myself back at the music department today to meet with a student from my writing class over a disputed grade (I gave her a B plus; she asked me to change it to an A minus; I agreed because of her perfect attendance and hard work in the course). The university is in a poor but historical area, and after my meeting I decided to walk to a nearby church and sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament, something I have been wanting to do more of late. When I found the church closed, I nearly cried. I walked along, intending to go to a different subway station than usual, and suddenly I came upon one of the friaries run by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (pictured above). I knew it was one of theirs when I saw the collection of beat-up old vans out front covered with pro-life bumper sisters. I know the Friars (commonly called the CFRs) through their connection with the Sisters of Life, their sister community; the Sisters have an apostolate to post-abortive women, and I participated in their retreats a few years ago, becoming very close to some of the nuns, and later sang in benefit concerts for them. I took my courage into my hands and went up and rang the buzzer; I figured I needed prayer, and I had happened upon the right place; in fact, I had been praying for the CFRs themselves just the night before.
A tall, lanky English brother answered the door. I told him who I was, and asked the brothers to pray for me. I told him about my pregnancy, my long-ago abortion, the two pregnancy losses that my former confessor had totted up against it, and my desire for God's mercy. He stood with me in the hot sun and prayed with me right there, but not before saying, quietly and with a firm joy: "God IS mercy."