01-04-2006 - Traces, n.4


Victory Over Nothingness

by Joshua Stancil

“The gaze with which God looks upon His creatures is not only the judging gaze of justice but also the loving gaze of mercy” (Hans Urs Von Balthasar). It’s always unexpected, this mercy of meeting Christ in the flesh: unmerited, unforeseen.
Through a series of events too long and complex to enumerate here (but which were obviously orchestrated by Jesus), I found myself on a prison bunk in 2002 staring at a sheet of paper displaying the e-mail address of a man named Rick Kushner, of the D.C. community. Over the following year I would meet Rick, his expectant wife Chiara, and their two small children, Teresa and Francesco. This family, each member an echo of the event of Christ, would drive seven hours–one way!–to spend an hour and a half with me in the visitation area.
As Chiara’s due date drew close, she and Rick asked me to be the child’s godfather–a request that still makes me dizzy if I think about it too long. Gabriella arrived a few weeks later, and a few months after that she made the trip with her family to visit me at the prison. As I held her, I thought, this is too beautiful, I’m not worthy, the very idea is bewildering. I’m no less bewildered now, two years later, for grace has a habit of being a bit more than I can fully comprehend; but I can’t deny that Christ has reached me through these people, His people, who are His victory over nothingness.