Thursday, January 28, 2010


This guy asked me for money and I didn’t want to give it to him. I went to talk to my spiritual director. We had some discussion about giving versus not giving to every Tom, Dick, and Harriet that asks you for a few dollars. “Sometimes it isn’t always about money going to the right person,” he told me, “Sometimes it is that you need to be the type of person who can give it freely away.”

I think of that every now and then. It is not much different from our stand on life. We as Catholics defend life even to opposing the death penalty in, if not all, most situations. (John Paul allowed for the possibility that it might be employed in some unusual situation I believe.) Everybody knows of some seemingly unredeemable person that makes being anti-death penalty a very difficult position to hold. We have one in Cleveland at the moment. A man lured women to his home, had his way with them and then murdered them one after the other and buried them around his property.

How could one defend the life of such a person who snuffed the life out of so many other people? Does he appear redeemable? Will he ever be able to be set free again? Does he have any use to society? Is there any chance that he will have a major conversion and save his soul? It is quite possible that the answer to all of these questions is no. Even if he should live for a hundred more years. And the amount of money and time that he will use up – my money and yours – as he drones through the years is astronomical. Is it worth the off change that something – anything good might come from this?

Yes. Because it isn’t always about the “bad guy” earning redemption. Sometimes it is about us being the type of people who offer a chance for it.

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