‘My most reliable intuition about the best response to life‘

Fr. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

A few days ago I was informed that a woman I knew many years ago had recently died. She was Jewish, went to Harvard, was a poet and was fluent in several languages. She never married. I had not spoken to her in decades.

Here is an excerpt from the eulogy that a friend of hers delivered at her funeral. It is taken from a letter that the eulogist received from the deceased a few years ago.

“Without actually thinking that there was something religious about it, I was attracted to nonviolence. When I was a college student the intuition of the presence of God just got too strong to be dismissed. Above all, the figure of Jesus spoke to me, because nonviolence had been my most reliable intuition about the best response to life. There Jesus was, the figure of nonviolent love at its most intense.

“To be baptized seemed like an act that would cost me everything. It was natural then to be on the lookout for something to do with my life that would take following Jesus as its whole meaning.”

She was baptized (Catholic). She lived an exemplary Gospel-centered Christlike life, being good and kind and helpful to people, most especially to those who were poor and vulnerable.

Her intuition about nonviolence and her assessment of Jesus being the figure par excellence of nonviolent love were arrived at before we ever met.


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