Recently at These Stone Walls, the blog of wrongly imprisoned Roman Catholic Priest Father Gordon MacRae, there was a guest posting. Now, normally I want to know what Father Gordon has to say, because like regular readers of TSW, I derive much in the way of spiritual direction from the wisdom that he writes. From a prison cell in the New Hampshire State Prison for Men, Father Gordon, who has never seen the internet has an internet ministry to many.
But, his internet ministry is largely the fruit of a hands on ministry to his fellow prisoners, and a storytellers gift. The story of and by Alexander Page, called "Turning a Page: A Long Lent Toward Easter Sunrise" is an example of the fruit of his efforts to bring Jesus to his fellow prisoners.
Like all followers of These Stone Walls, and its principal character, Father Gordon MacRae, I deplore the injustice done to Father Gordon, the comedy of errors, surrounded by lies and deceptions built by the protagonists in his court case from over 20 years ago. It was an unmitigated fiction perpetrated by those who were caught up in the mass hysteria that surrounded the scandal of Catholic leaders being caught in sexual abuse. That the instance of abuse was far lower than in what we might call polite society, was lost. That the lack of credibility of some proportion of the claimants, and particularly the one in this case, was hidden from open court also contributed to the travesty of justice that Father Gordon and many other Catholic clergy had foisted upon them.
So, when word came out yesterday through These Stone Walls latest posting "Judge Joseph LaPlante Denies Priest's Appeal", like all followers of TSW I was stunned and saddened.
Some of the hardest words of scripture for me have been these words of Saint Paul in James 1:2: "Consider all these trials joy." These words were particularly ludicrous to me at first, when about 12 years ago, I was in an automobile accident, in which I incurred my 9th or 10th concussion. My next several years were spent in quiet rooms, trying to get through painful days and nights, and maintain some sanity. By the grace of God I was able to fashion a new life for myself and with and for my family, that though very different from our previous life has had many blessings in it, and so I can now agree with Saint Paul.
One of the things that has been helpful to me over the last several years has been the writings of Father Gordon MacRae who has lived James 1:2 for over 20 years. So many of us have benefited from his written ministry, and his faithful following of Jesus in trials and tribulations.
But, when is enough, enough? The simple answer is that enough is enough when Our Lord says it is enough. If God would not spare His only Son, will he spare us from those things that join us to Him and His Son, and Holy Spirit?
So, this week we grieve along with our friend, a friend who most of us have never met, yet love dearly, at another giant stone placed in front of him. It might have been nice for us to awaken next Wednesday morning to read of Alexander Page and his conversion story, which Father Gordon was instrumental in. For then we could see the point in it all maybe. But, that would make us like Thomas who had to see the wounds to believe.
Jesus said that those who believed without seeing were and would be happier. Surely Thomas had seen the Lord perform miracles at other times and places while he traveled about with Him. So, he had seen much, and yet he was overtaken by disbelief.
We like Thomas have seen the Lord act in and through Father Gordon in the conversion stories of Pornchai Moontri, Michael Ceresi, Anthony Begin, Alexander Page, and probably many others we do not know yet.
So, if the Lord who performs miracles of the heart has allowed Father Gordon to be crushed some more in this film noire that is his life, dare we not believe in His Infinite Mercy, Justice and Love for Father Gordon, and for us all?
In almost all cases of injustice we hear about or come across, we are seemingly powerless to do much, if anything about them. Yet, we have the greatest power that exists on this earth, the power to storm heaven with our prayers and petitions, and watch the Lord of the Universe as He answers our prayers in His own inimitable style.
So, we must watch as "All things turn to good for those who trust in the Lord." (Romans 8:28) We must gird up our friend Father Gordon with our prayers, lest the circumstances of his life overwhelm him.
Our priests must not be allowed to fall in loneliness and despair, when we can speak our love to them, and when we can speak to God of our love for them.
God of Mercy, we call on you to lift up our brother from his trials, that he might overcome them as it suits your perfect plan and will, and draw many into your loving embrace.