A Day to Show Mercy


Sunday, May 1 was the first Sunday after Easter and is also known as Divine Mercy Sunday.  It is a day to commemorate God's limitless mercy.  John Paul II was beatified on Sunday but another event occurred that jars my notion of what Divine Mercy Sunday is all about. 

Osama Bin Laden was killed in a US raid.  At first there were reports of a firefight.  Then there were reports he was armed.  There were reports one of our helicopters was shot down.  Then there were reports it had mechanical problems.  Finally today it came out that Bin Laden was not armed but that he "resisted".  What does "resistance" mean to a Navy Seal expecting fierce resistance?  Not making an obvious enough surrender might qualify in such a tense situation.  After all, this was the madman who had claimed thousands of lives.


I'm sure taking OBL alive would have brought about a complicated situation involving issues of where to incarcerate him, where to try him and where to bury him if he was later executed.  OBL showed no mercy to the victims on 9/11. OBL showed no mercy to the victims on the USS Cole and embassy bombings he orchestrated.  Clearly OBL was living in luxury while his followers suffered in caves and died in drone attacks.  But that does not mean we shouldn't make at least a reasonable effort to show mercy to him.  I'm not saying we didn't, I'm just saying the only way we would have known for sure tha he was shown mercy is if he had been brought back to stand trial and occupy the cell next to Charles Manson.


I doubt the video of the OBL capture will ever be released.  For one thing it might compromise our methods and our personnel.  But I hope the reason OBL wasn't taken alive relates more to something he did than to orders given by our leadership, especially since he was taken on Divine Mercy Sunday in our time zone or soon thereafter in his time zone.


There was a Catholic saint in the 1800's who prayed for a murderer who was going to be executed.  She later heard he made a conversion on his way to be executed.  If you want to learn more, read "Story of A Soul, The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux"  I suggest we follow her example and pray for the conversion of people like OBL especially this close to Divine Mercy Sunday.