Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Christina Grimmie Can Teach Us to be People of Mercy

June 10, 2016 was four years ago.

It seems like so much has happened since Christina Grimmie's last day of life on this earth. But many people continue to miss her, in different ways depending on the place she held in their own lives.

Especially in the scary, dangerous, disorienting times we have been living through in recent months, many of us probably feel like crying out, "O Christina, we really need you now! We need your music, your joy, your groundedness, your affirmation, your whole example of what it means to be human."

The truth is that she is not as far from us as it seems. Her personal solicitude is with us, in some sense even closer to us, in ways we can hardly imagine. A sign of this, however, is the continuation of our memory of her and its ongoing fruitfulness. Four years later, Christina Grimmie's legacy is growing, becoming more extensive and more relevant for people all over the world.

Today, more than ever, we look to her passionate embrace of the mystery of her own very real life, and her trust, her gratitude, her confidence in the promise of ultimate goodness that constitutes the heart of all reality, even in the most difficult times.

Christina Grimmie lived a brief but intensely human life, with incredible talents and dedication to hard work, with challenges and problems, brilliant successes, setbacks, flaws and failures, suffering, courage, integrity and fidelity of spirit, humor, playfulness, huge generosity, and — especially  a tremendous awareness that human existence is fulfilled by loving and being loved.

Thus she lived each day, not easily, not free from mistakes and sorrow, but always going forward, never giving up, remembering that she was always held up by the arms of Love, and therefore unafraid to open her arms to give love to others: through music, friendship, encouragement, and hospitality "extended" in surprisingly concrete ways by means of her media platforms as well as in direct personal encounters.

With whatever means she had, Christina welcomed people into her company. She welcomed the sick of body and mind, the troubled, the people who didn't fit in, who felt worthless, who were forgotten, all kinds of people known and unknown, because she knew that every human person is precious and worthy of love.

She had space in her soul for that great and much needed work of mercy called "welcoming the stranger" (see Matthew 25:35). Indeed, her life was full of the works of mercy, often as expressions of a powerful compassion embedded within ordinary daily activities and interactions.

We do still need Christina. We need her legacy because we need to become people of mercy, people who ask for mercy and forgiveness, who return to fidelity to the mystery of our human vocation, and who forgive others and show an abundance of mercy toward one another. Christina has shown us that it is possible to live this way, that it is possible to focus on this way, return to it, and seek it, begging for the strength and the light to follow this way of merciful love, never giving up, all the way to the end.