Friday, December 06, 2013

Free At Last! On the Passing of Nelson Mandella

A friend on Facebook inspired me to write the following:

Your Holiness;

Normally, I would struggle to use such a salutation, however, having read of 
your outreach to those of us not choosing to follow the Catholic Church, I use 
it with a glad heart.  I am not unfamiliar with the Holy Bible.  The teaching 
of Christ, as told in the Gospels, is, for the most part, a universal human 
truth and I thank you for acknowledging those of us who see it as such.  
Goodness transcends all faiths and beliefs.  It is for this reason I feel 
compelled to write this email.

The loss to humanity, of Nelson Mandela, is incalculably great.  This world 
needs more of his kind-- and kindness, not less.  I beg you use the influence 
which your position accords to promote such a worthy example of human grace.

This humble man, in my opinion, was a miracle.  He fought to keep his humanity 
through many years of persecution as a prisoner under the regime of Apartheid.  

He became, throughout the world, the rallying point for those of us rightly 
intolerant of the intolerant.  His example seems, to me, to follow in the 
footsteps of Christ, as Christ is portrayed in the Gospels.

Yet, for all the publicity he was given, he remained humble, compassionate, 
and graceful.  He was given rule of the country which had formerly persecuted 
him.  In response, he chose not to persecute his persecutors.  Instead he 
embraced them.  His Truth and Reconciliation Committee sought only one thing:  
to heal a nation.  Christ was a healer.  This is what I believe to be 
Mandela's first miracle.

Christ admonishes us to turn the other cheek.  Even after his years of 
suffering at the hands of his persecutors, Nelson Mandela lived as Christ did.  
Mandela's suffering is well known.  Though he didn't die a martyr, there is no 
doubt in my mind he lived as one.  Death comes quickly and ends easily.  
Living is much harder, especially the many years he spent suffering for 
others.  His grace in the face of it is his second miracle.

I fully realize Nelson Mandela isn't Catholic.  Likewise, the Good Samaritan 
wasn't a Jew.  Doesn't Nelson Mandela deserve a similar mention for his 
unfailing compassion and grace?  For the sake of ALL humanity, I implore you!

As I mention in my opening, I am not a Catholic.  I am agnostic.  I could 
never pretend to think I know the mind of God.  Perhaps, he reigns supreme 
over our universe.  Yet nature tells us we cannot see beyond this very 
universe, therefore, I cannot know the mind of God.

I do know grace and compassion when I see it, however.  Nelson Mandela 
personified both.  To me, the man was a saint.  I hope the Catholic Church can 
look beyond itself, as you, Your Holiness, has recently done.  I beseech you, 
please declare Nelson Mandela a saint!

Man in the Middle