September 22, 2006

Lord Have Mercy

Many times I am greatly troubled by the world I have to inhabit. Not so long ago I stood in a courtroom as a man pled guilty to rape and multiple counts of child molestation. It was surreal to hear the litany of horror this man perpetrated on his young victim. The molestation went on for years, gradually getting to the point where the man was filming himself with his victim so he could watch his acts of deliberate depravity over and over to sate his abhorrent desire.

He did not look like a monster, or even a menace. Take away the shackles and he looked like any other small dark-haired man with wire rim glasses. Yet within this illusion of normalcy lived a creature so far beyond our point of reference that it is unimaginable. It felt like the devil was in the room.

Some get satisfaction that knowing while in prison he will most likely experience what it is like to be molested. He will feel the fear that comes when the predator becomes the prey. In the prison hierarchy he and his ilk are the bottom feeders.

To us he looked like evil incarnate, yet there must have been many times when someone was proud of him, proud to call him their son, brother or husband.

How could this be? How could a man with so much potential for good become such a broken vessel? He admitted to the court that he started looking at child pornography in 1996. On his home computer were thousands of images and numerous videos of child pornography. Our priest last week spoke about how the eyes are the window to the soul. This time the message really made sense. This man opened himself up to the perversion by looking at things no one should ever see, much less enjoy.

For me these particular situations, child abuse and child molestation, are where I am most awed by the power of Christ’s atoning death. If there is mercy for this man, if salvation is possible for this sick soul, and I have to believe it is, it is a grace far beyond my ability to comprehend. I pray that his victim, and all victims of child abuse, will somehow find peace.

Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.

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