Posted by: Mel Smith | September 19, 2008

La Mesa Prison and the Rapture

It’s Friday morning the 19th of September 2008. The death toll at La Mesa prison has risen to 23 and may double by the time all the dead and dying is over. La Mesa prison is just over the boarder from San Diego, in Tijuana Mexico.

When I heard the news about La Mesa, it caught my attention because I am reading a book about that very prison and a person who dedicated her life to serving the inmates of that facility. Her name was Mary Clark before two marriages and two divorces, but then something else happened… she became a Nun! She became Mother Antonia.

The story of a women that gave away her wealth to become poor and to serve those that are imprisoned.

I’m not through reading this book yet, but then Mother Antonia isn’t through living it. One of the news accounts mentioned her visit to the prison after the riots. (She was born December 1, 1926… that makes her 86?)

Her story is one of surrender. A story of giving and caring for others. A life of reaching out to care for those that have lost the ability, or the will, to care for themselves. In spite of her own failures in marriage she radiates love to those that the world considers unlovable.

I mentioned the rapture and here is why. When I think about Mother Antonia and the way many “Christians” think, she’ll never make it in the great escape, the rapture.

She has everything wrong!

She’s Catholic, twice divorced, and probably doesn’t even think about the rapture! All she does is serve the poor and minister to those in prison. Loves God like crazy! She gave away a fortune and passed up oportunity for fame. Too bad she’ll have to stick around for the tribulation while Jesus is up in heaven with all those that had the correct beliefs concerning the times and the seasons…. yes, I’m laughing!

What does it mean to be ready for our masters return? Does it mean reading and believing all sixteen volumes of the Left Behind series or does it mean laboring in this world and being Christ to those we meet? I remember some discussions a few months back when hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. I was astounded that some people who always were willing to ‘fight’ for the correct understanding of scripture were suddenly without compassion for the needy people that Katrina produced. While some members of the discussion wondered how they could help the storm victims, there were those that fretted that if the refugees from the storm were helped in our community, that they might stay and become a burden on everyone! Oh! how unfair they thought those with compassion were being in that their compassion might become a financial burden on everyone! They had no feelings for the victims of the storm only concern for their own welfare!

I lost any respect I might have once afforded them after that; I did not learn Christ that way.

If you think about it, say a prayer for the poor, the needy, and those imprisoned. I highly recomend the book The Prison Angel by Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan. ISBN 1-59420-056-4 Published by The Penguin Press, New York 2005. $24.95. I got my copy through Paper Back Swap for less than $3.45!

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