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I prayed for Charles Manson’s soul, but I didn’t pray it well

Charles Manson

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Margot Cleveland - published on 11/21/17

God's mercy is a mystery at its depths, far beyond our comprehension. But do we really want it for some?

I hope Charles Manson makes it to heaven. Not today. Not tomorrow. Frankly, not until the end of time.  But as news of his death spread, and social media exploded in celebration, I silently prayed for his soul and the souls of his victims and their families who continue to suffer.

The pray came grudgingly and with certainty of its impossibility: Surely, Manson the mortal incarnation of Beelzebub himself stood no chance at eternal salvation?

But I fulfilled my Christian duty and safely disregarded the momentary heart-wrenching thought that I was asking for God’s mercy on Manson—MANSON.

In smug satisfaction, I turned to the day ahead.  But then the words on which my Sunday evening ended flashed through my mind:

O my Jesus, Forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need of Thy mercy.

Especially those who are most in need of Thy mercy.

Manson.  MANSON.

The thought horrifies. Because then, we “are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

We say that God’s love knows no bounds. We say that God can forgive all. But do we truly believe that?  Or do we take solace in the damnation of evil men—men whose deeds by comparison render our sins mere specks? Do we see planks only in the eyes of the Mansons, bin Ladens, and Dahmers of the netherworld? And when we pray for God’s mercy do we mean it?

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