A Moment of Grace

A story is told about Riorello LaGuardia, who, when he was mayor of New York City during the worst days of the Great Depression and all of World War II, was called by adoring New Yorkers ‘the Little Flower’ because he was only five foot four and always wore a carnation in his lapel.  He was a colorful character who used to ride the New York City fire trucks, raid speakeasies with the police department, take entire orphanages to baseball games, and whenever the New York newspapers were on strike, he would go on the radio and read the Sunday funnies to the kids.

One bitterly cold night in January of 1935, the mayor turned up at a night court that served the poorest ward of the city.  LaGuardia dismissed the judge for the evening and took over the bench himself.  Within a few minutes, a tattered old woman was brought before him, charged with stealing a loaf of bread.  She told LaGuardia that her daughter’s husband had deserted her, her daughter was sick, and her two grandchildren were starving.  But the shopkeeper, from whom the bread was stolen, refused to drop the charges.  “It’s a bad neighborhood, your Honor,” the man told the mayor. 
“She’s got to be punished to teach other people around here a lesson.”

LaGuardia sighed.  He turned to the woman and said, “I’ve got to punish you.  The law makes no exceptions — ten dollars or ten days in jail.”  But even as he pronounced sentence, the mayor was already reaching into his pocket.  He extracted a bill and tossed it into his famous sombrero saying: “Here is the ten dollar fine which I now remit; and furthermore I am going to fine everyone in this courtroom fifty cents for living in a town where a person has to steal bread so that her grandchildren can eat.  Mr. Bailiff, collect the fines and give them to the defendant.”

So the following day the New York City newspapers reported that $47.50 was turned over to a bewildered old lady who had stolen a loaf of bread to feed her starving grandchildren, fifty cents
of that amount being contributed by the red-faced grocery store owner, while some seventy petty criminals, people with traffic violations, and New York City policemen, each of whom had just paid fifty cents for the privilege of doing so, gave the mayor a standing ovation.

Quoted from
The Ragamuffin Gospel, p. 92-93
Brennan Manning

In the end everything will be all right, nothing can harm you permanently;
no loss is lasting, no defeat more than transitory, no disappointment is conclusive.
Suffering, failure, loneliness, sorrow, discouragement and death
will be part of your journey, but the kingdom of God will conquer all these horrors.
No evil can resist grace forever.

-Brennan Manning
(The Ragamuffin Gospel)

Our world is saturated with grace, and the lurking presence of God is revealed not only in spirit
but in matter - in a deer leaping across a meadow, in the flight of an eagle, in fire and water,
in a rainbow after a summer storm, in a gentle doe streaking through a forest,
in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony,
in a child licking a chocolate ice cream cone, in a woman with windblown hair.
God intended for us to discover His loving presence in the world around us.

-Brennan Manning
(The Ragamuffin Gospel)

God loves you
without condition
or reservation
and loves you
this moment
as you are and not
as you should be.

Brennan Manning

My deepest awareness
of myself is that I am
deeply loved by Jesus Christ
and I have done nothing
to earn it or deserve it.

Brennan Manning

We should be astonished at the goodness
of God, stunned that He should bother to
call us by name, our mouths wide open at
His love, bewildered that at this very
moment we are standing on holy ground.

Brennan Manning

The only kind of love
that helps anyone grow is
unconditional love.

Brennan Manning