*Warning: the crime of child abduction and murder are spoken of in this post*
When I was young, stories of abduction and murder made me sick to my stomach. My insides cringed and my heart ached. I still vividly recall the traumatic event of a certain young girl when I was only a few years younger then her. I still think about her and her tragic end, every single time I pass the corner of townhouses that now stand over her old family home. I still think about her murderer too, every time I cross through that four-way-stop. Almost 15 years ago, and her death still haunts me. Or rather, my mind and heart are permanently aware of the pure evil that seeped it’s way into a man’s being, clung to his soul, and destroyed the lives of so many. Which is exactly what happened. When one allows Satan to permeate, he quickly looses sight of God. When the tunnels of grace are slowly filled with sewage, they clog up, rust, and eventually disappear. They can be re-built again, but only through complete and total repentance to Christ.
This week there was an Amber Alert that spanned BC, Alberta, Saskachewan, and Montana. A toddler was missing after her father was found dead in their home. I kept tuning in to hear an update, but there was nothing new for hours and hours. My heart ached in pain, I was nauseous, I cried, I prayed. I prayed and I prayed. Not only that she would be found unharmed and brought safely back to her mother, but that Our Lady would take pity and keep her under her protection, that Our Lord would have mercy and take care of her. Finally I went to sleep with the comfort of Our Lady of the Streets. No update the next morning. Still searching. Finally late last night, I heard the news: her body was found.
An innocent, beautiful little girl, abducted from her home in the middle of the night after her father’s murder. Killed. I don’t want to know how, I don’t want details. An over-abundance of empathy will burn horrendous details into your memory and heart forever – as I already know from past events like this. When I heard, my heart ached, almost as much as it did the night before, except – even with the most tragic news we all hoped against – I sensed a calm relief, because now I knew she was out of harms way and safe in Our Lord’s arms. She wasn’t still lost in a sea of evil, not knowing where to turn.
God always hears our prayers, and often times they are answered in a way we don’t understand. So many prayers, and yet this little girl was still killed – it would be easy to blame God in blind anger. But Our Lord can’t be where there is no room for him. If all our tunnels of grace are gone, destroyed because we blew them up or allowed them to crumble slowly over time, He has no way of reaching us. He gave us free will, and He will not re-build those tunnels and force His way in once we shut Him out. If we want Him gone, He will watch from a distance in pain and in tears and in sorrow at our self-destruction. He waits for that single moment when we perhaps stretch out our hand to him in the slightest hope of His help. He waits for any and every moment to give us what we need to be with Him. But if we never turn back, if we never stretch out that hand, or even lift our eyes in His direction, we have shut Him out by our own choice.
And this is what her murderer did. We prayed and we begged, while the angels and saints implored, and Our Lord shed tears of sorrow and agony over the sin being committed that He saw in Gethsemane and died for on Calvary. There were no tunnels, no bridges, no networks of grace that linked Our Lord to this poor soul enough to draw him away from the evil that possessed him.
Although heart-wrenchingly sad, the calm I felt at the tragic news of her death was a confidence that, at two years old, the little girl is safe now from all harm in this world. Our Lord draws the good from every situation, no matter how bleak it is. Even though she died at such a young age and didn’t get the chance to live her life long, she will now be happy for eternity. There is no chance that she will loose her soul through life and spend eternity in hell. She is now protected from every possible evil.
Her father was also killed at 27 years old. Pray for both of their souls. And pray for their murderer. His soul deserves our pity and our prayers. What a terrifying thought, to be so absorbed by Satan: to look around and see only darkness, to hear only the screams of hell, to feel only the suffocating presence of demons pushing against you. It may only be by our prayers pushing and shoving against those demons, that eventually gains a quick hole in the blackness enveloping his soul by which Our Lord can squeeze a bit of grace into, that will bring him back to Him.
There is always a ray of hope, even in the deepest, darkest caves of saddness.