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A Way Out of the Quagmire – A Reflection

May 12, 2023
A picture from our hotel room balcony of a seagull in flight.

The week that Denise and I were in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada was a wonderful week of relaxation as we explored my mom’s hometown. While there I took time to reflect on what is going on in the US and other parts of the world.

There is so much division based on hatred, fear, and mistrust. It truly hurts my heart and I wonder what the future holds for us. The following words from Thomas Merton help flesh out some of my thinking as I reflect on everything that has happened and continues to happen in the US and in the world.

In 1963, Thomas Merton wrote the following in a form letter addressed simply to, “My Dear Friend.” I think that we as citizens of the United States, as a nation ought to make more serious efforts to act our age and think in proportion to our size. For this, a whole lot of people who never thought about anything serious in their lives are going to have to wake up and start thinking about their moral and political responsibilities. It is no good going on emotions and prejudices and slogans and feelings of righteous indignation. It is no good simply letting our minds become a passive reflection of a television screen. It is no good going around shouting something that someone else has suggested that we shout, no matter what it may be. If we want to become a seriously political nation, the people have to think for themselves. (Thomas Merton: A Life in Letters, p. 9)

Even though he wrote these words in 1963, they are prophetically relevant today. Is there a way out of this quagmire? I believe that there is a way out of the quagmire. It isn’t easy and it will call for a tremendous transformation in all of us. The transformation must begin by breaking down barriers that divide, and building bridges of unity and peace. The first step can only occur when mercy is at the heart of our actions. The Oxford English Dictionary defines mercy as compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.

**“Mercy Now,” is a song written by Mary Gauthier in 2005 which Alana Levandoski recorded on her 2020 album “Hymns from the Icons.” (Mary Gauthier’s recordingAlana Levandoski’s recording)

In the words of Mary Gauthier, we could all use a little mercy now.


Mercy Now – Mary Gauthier

My father could use a little mercy now

The fruits of his labor fall and rot slowly on the ground

His work is almost over it won’t be long, he won’t be around

I love my father, he could use some mercy now

My brother could use a little mercy now

He’s a stranger to freedom, he’s shackled to his fear and his doubt

The pain that he lives in it’s almost more than living will allow

I love my brother, he could use some mercy now

My church and my country could use a little mercy now

As they sink into a poisoned pit it’s going to take forever to climb out

They carry the weight of the faithful who follow them down

I love my church and country, they could use some mercy now

Every living thing could use a little mercy now

Only the hand of grace can end the race towards another mushroom cloud

People in power, they’ll do anything to keep their crown

I love life and life itself could use some mercy now

Yeah, we all could use a little mercy now

I know we don’t deserve it but we need it anyhow

We hang in the balance dangle ‘tween hell and hallowed ground

And every single one of us could use some mercy now

Every single one of us could use some mercy now

Every single one of us could use some mercy now

  1. Blessings.

    Please consider Canadian citizenship.

  2. pynkoski2 permalink

    The Gauthier song is a favourite. So, too, is Jon Brooks song, “Mercy.”

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