“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my Word will not pass.” Yesterday morning I mused on these words while careening over ragged streets to “Daya Dan,” the sisters’ home for 65 “spastic children.” The sisters prepared me for their singing at Mass, which was … enthusiastic. In fact, the children were shouting the Word of God at the top of their lungs. Take little Rosemary, for instance: not only was she dizzyingly off-key, but she shouted out phrases half a second after everyone else. “Lord have mercy” the sisters sang sweetly, and a half second later Rosemary called out “Mercy!!!” Then she launched into the Gloria, but as there was no Gloria that day, a sister quickly clapped a hand over her mouth. Rosemary smiled with glee from behind sister’s benevolent hand while everyone else, including sister superior and the priest, did our best to suppress smiles.
They’ve built a new tower to replace the Towers that passed into oblivion in 2001. The human lives that passed away that day have not been replaced, but the simple word called out by a spastic girl in Calcutta will never pass away. That word is “mercy,” as in Lord Have Mercy. The terrorists had no mercy on America that day, and in retaliation America had no mercy on Bagdad. There is only One who is capable of real mercy, and little Rosemary in Calcutta knows His name.
After Mass the children all crowded around me and one of them pointed to the crucifix. “Jesus,” was all he said. Rosemary chimed in, shouting “Jesus!!! Jesus!!!”