Note: Members of Pax Christi Massachusetts co-sponsored the annual Stations of the Cross in front of the Boston Statehouse on Good Friday. Station 11 was the presentation of a piece written by a man with whom PC-MA state coordinator Pat Ferrone has been communicating for the last 1.5 years. He has been on Death Row in Florida since he was 23, and is now 50. This is his reflection.
My name is Marc. I am a Florida Death Row inmate, and I’ve been living in the shadow of death here since 1988. I was only 23 years old when I was sentenced to death for two counts of first degree murder. I am now 50 years old.
Over the many years, I’ve spent countless hours in prayerful meditation over how my life unfurled and how I lost my way.
Thankfully, Our Lord is a Merciful and Loving Father, and He has, through the Holy Spirit, enlightened me to the reality of his existence and love which he would have us emulate.
In my early years, I lost my way and I brought much shame and dishonor to myself and others. I felt unloved, uncared for, exploited and abused by everyone in my life. And so I began to see the world as a hateful and selfish place – and I, too, began to see things through such a prism. This, of course, was my undoing as you will only find misfortune and death when you embrace the ways of darkness. There are no exceptions. This is probably the most important of all moral lessons I’ve learned through direct communion with the Holy Spirit. In this life there are only two forces at play. Good and Evil – Life and Death – Light and Darkness are all phrases that illustrate our choices and identify our way of life.
We’ve all heard the famous cliché that you have to fight fire with fire. But in our spiritual warfare this will not work because once you cross the line then you are no longer part of the solution but part of the problem. The good fight is only hindered by a sinful approach to the challenge and wondrous benefit of being merciful and loving to one another no matter what the circumstances may be.
Today I live in a state of constant remorse for the harm and disadvantage that I caused to others and myself.
The Holy Spirit revealed to me that in the resurrection when we stand in the presence of our Holy Father in the light of truth, it is not, and will not be, the oppression of a vengeful God that we will need to be delivered from, but our own guilt, shame and self-loathing that will overwhelm us when we are faced with owning all of the sins that we have committed during our lives. And even one sin burdens the soul when it is recognized in the light of truth because it is born of indifference to righteousness.
Thankfully, our Heavenly Father, through the cross of Jesus Christ, will deliver us as we are all his beloved children and this deliverance is achieved through Mercy and Truth, not vengeance.
If it were possible to restore our world, our communities, our homes, through the use of evil tactics and methods then our world should already be an amazing paradise. But over and over again history proves conclusively that fighting evil with evil only produces a world full of pain and suffering produced by hatred and vengeance.
I was indeed once lost in such darkness which is a cold, lonely, and desperate hell. But the love authored and inspired by our Heavenly Father is a lamp unto our feet.
I continue to live in this shadow of death not knowing if or when I may be put to death by the State in the name of the people – in the name of Justice, in the hope that if we keep trying, then perhaps someday the use of evil will result in all that is good and prosperous…Lord have Mercy on us.