“He has done the greatest thing anyone can do.”

“He has done the greatest thing anyone can do.” January 19, 2009

At the time of his assassination, plans were underway for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to make a retreat with Thomas Merton at Our Lady of Gethsemani Abbey. On April 5, 1968, Merton wrote to Coretta Scott King:

Some events are too big and terrible to talk about. I think we all anticipated this one: I am sure he did. Somehow when John Yungblut spoke of Martin coming here for a brief retreat before the big march, I had the awful feeling that it might be a preparation for something like this. It was to be Memphis instead of Washington—or somewhere else on the way.

Let me only say how deeply I share your personal grief as well as the shock which pervades the whole nation. He has done the greatest thing anyone can do. In imitation of his Master he has laid down his life for his friends and enemies. He knew the nation was under judgment and he tried everything to stay the hand of God and man. He will go down in history as one of our greatest citizens.

My prayers are with you and with him. May he find the rest and reward which God has promised to all who trust in His mercy. This morning my Eucharistic offering will be for him and for you.

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