One of two brothers died in a car accident. As the brother, Peter, approached the pearly gates of heaven a white-bearded man welcomed him and took him to the main office and told him to wait there. With growing concern as he was waiting for God, Peter saw a pair of glasses on top of a cloud that served as an office desk. Without thinking twice he put them on and directed his sight upon the earth. The glasses had a magic power that enabled him see into the hearts of people and their activities. Realizing that, Peter focused on the office space he had shared with his business partner and, to his dismay, he was able to see that his friend was altering the books of their company. In anger, he stood up and was about to throw the his chair when God walked in. “Peter,” the soft, booming voice cut the silence and the anger. “It is not enough only to see. You also need a heart that listens and understands.” God pointed to the heart that was also on top of the cloud-desk next to the glasses that Peter had taken. “You see, if you are willing to see, you also need to be able to feel and understand the stories and the reasons that drive people to do whatever they do.”
This story comes to mind every time I had to deal with the pervasive question of violence and attempt to deal with the grief and pain of the world. It is not enough to read, see and understand with the eyes of faith. We need to embrace the heart of God whose compassion is more pervasive and powerful than the sharpened edge of violence. It is in our taking on that heart that we are granted the grace to dismantle, learn and choose the way of Jesus. Only those who recognize in themselves our tendency and complicity to be violent will have a chance, in embracing it, to transform it. Let us all feel God´s embrace.
Rev. Juan Carlos Ruiz