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My dear Friends
As you may have already
heard, the verdict is in and the jury has decided
that the appropriate sentence is death----six death sentences to be precise.
The jury deliberated for nine days- a record for a capital case in my state-
and I must admit that I had my hopes up. So I guess my reaction would be
described as disappointed, but upon relfelction not truly surprised.
This was an extremely difficult case to win, and my lawyers should be
commended for the job that they did. I knew after final arguements that the
decision could go either way, so I put it into the hands of God praying that
His will be done. And as hard as it is to accept, I do believe that it is
God's will that I remain here on death row. Now I can already hear your
protests, but let me share something from In conversation with God: "God
asks us to lose our fear of pain and tribulation and unite ourselves to Him,
as He waits for us on the cross, And we will realise that joy is inseperable
from the Cross. Not only that, we will also understand that we can never be
happy if we are not united to Christ on the cross and that we will never know
how to love if we do not at the same time love sacrafice. These tribulations
that appear to our poor human reasoning as unjust and meaningless are
necessary for our personal holiness and for the salvation of many souls.
Within the mystery of co-redemption, our sufferings united to those of Christ
acquire an incomparable value for the entire church and the whole of mankind.
If we humbly have recourse to God, He will make us see that everything, even
events and circumstances apparently least likely to do so, work together for
the good of those who love him. Suffering, when seen in its true light , when
it serves as a means of loving more, produces great peace and deep joy. That
is why God often blesses us with the Cross".
I have to believe this
because it is the only way I can make sense of my life
and of my current circumstances. When I came to death row some thirteen years
ago, I could never have imagined the true blessing that it would ultimately
turn out to be. And while I never would have chosen this path in retrospect,
I wouldn't change places with anyone. I know this is hard to believe-how
could anyone find death row to be a blessing? But when I look over the past
decade that I have been here and I see the spiritual transformation and
growth that I have undergone, I know, without a shadow of a doubt, the love
and abundant graces that God has bestowed upon me. And because of this, I can
say that even though I do not understand why God chose for me to remain here
on death row, I know that with a strong faith that there is a reason and a
purpose for this which will in the end glorify God.
Life may sometimes seem senseless, and people may at times be thoughtless or
even vindictive. But Gods will for us is good. And God will prevail. So I
accept this situation- even though I don't fully understand- and I patiently
and humbly await the day that I do understand and see how all of this fits
into God's plan for me, and for humanity in general.
Still it doesn't seem fair does it? I know that feeling well, and when in my
arrrogance I question the judgement of God, I read the question from The
Imitation of Christ: "What have you to complain of, vain person? Oh wretched
sinner that you are, what answer can you justly make for those who rebuke
you, since you have so often offended God and so often deserved the
punishment of hell?"
I am luckier than most, for my sins are very clear to me, they are horrible
in nature, and they cannot be justified as anything except what they palinly
are-especially egregious sins before God. My sins are ever before me and I
cannot pretend to be deserving of any mercy fro God. So when life does not
seem fair, all I have to do is to look hard at who I am and what I have done,
and suddenly I see that I deserve far less than I do have. God has been very
merciful to me--of this I cannot deny- so I try to humbly accept the
circumastances of my life without complaint and even with thanksgiving. This
is not always easy to do, and I don't always succeed, but it is what I try to
I would like to share
one finam excerpt from In Conversation with God that
helps me to put difficulties in their proper perspective:
"In the face of every setback, of every failure, of every incomprehensible
event and blatant injustice, we should reflect on those consoling words of
the Lord. "What I am doing you do not know now, but afterward you will
understand". (John 13;7) Then there will be no resentment or sorrow.
Everything that happens to us is forseen by God, and is ordained to His
Glory and to the salvation of man. If what happens to us is good, God wants
it for us. If it is bad, He does not want it for us, but allows it to happen
because he respects man's freedom and the order of nature: in such unlikely
circumstances it is nonetheless in Gods power to obtain good and advantage
for the soul-even bringing out evil itself. Whenever we find ourselves beset
by difficulties let us say this simple and humble prayer, " Lord you know
better. I abandon myself into your hands. You'll explain it to me later on".
I don't know why all of this happened. I don't know why I was afflicted with
a mental illness that drove me to commit such horrible crimes. And I don't
know why God didn't help my jury to understand that and grant me life
sentences. But I have to trust that God knows what He is doing, and that he
will explain it to me in His own good time. I'm not saying that it is easy to
do, nor am I saying that I don't have my times of doubt, but I am saying that
I trust God to deliver me in His own manner--by turning this tribulation into
a blessing--as He has doen for me so many times before in my past. I may not
be able to see the good in this now, but I have no doubt that with time the
blessing will become abundantly clear.
I ask you my dear friends, not to be too disappointed with this verdict. I
know it is not what you prayed for, and it is hard to see how the death
penalty, could possibly be something good. But remember, through the power
and glory of God, All things, even the most unmitigated evil, can be
transformed into something good. As Paul said, we know that all things work
for good for those who love God" (Romans 8;28)
He doesn't say that all things will be easy, and indeed Paul suffered greatly
and He himslef was executed by the authorities. But He did trust in the
ultimate goodness of God. And that is what we must do, even in difficut
circumstances such as these.
I want to thank you all fro your prayers, and the wonderful caring support
that you have shown me. I regret that I have not had the time to respond to
every letter and card individually, but be assured that they were all greatly
appreciated. I am lucky to have such good friends.
Until next time.
Michael B Ross#127404
Northern Correctional Institution
PO Box #665
Somers CT 06071 USA
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