In addressing Congress in the United States recently, Pope Francis extensively referenced, Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day and Martin Luther King. Here is a quote from Dorothy Day by which in a sentence she gets to the essential thing, not just for religion but for all of human life.
The biggest challenge of the day is how to bring about a revolution of the heart; a revolution that has to start with each one of us.
But what might that look like? Antoine Leiris' wife was killed in the November 13th terrorist attack of the Bataclan theater in Paris. The couple have a 17 month old baby boy named Melvil. The evening of seeing his wife in the morgue for the first time after her murder, Antoine wrote a letter to the men who killed her. It lays open for us the heart-revolution of which Dorothy Day speaks.
Here is the English translation text of Antoine's letter.
Friday night, you took an exceptional life - the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you will not have my hatred. I don't know who you are and I don't want to know; you are dead souls. If this God, for whom you kill blindly, made us in his image, every bullet in the body of my wife would have been one more wound in his heart.
So, no, I will not grant you the gift of my hatred. You're asking for it, but responding to hatred with anger is falling victim to the same ignorance that has made you what you are. You want me to be scared, to view my countrymen with mistrust, to sacrifice my liberty for my security. You lost.
I saw her this morning, finally after nights and days of waiting. She was just as beautiful as when she left on Friday night, just as beautiful as when I fell hopelessly in love over 12 years ago. Of course I am devastated by this pain, I give you this little victory, but the pain will be short-lived. I know that she will be with us every day and that we will find ourselves again in the paradise of free love to which you have no access.
We are just two now, my son and me, but we are stronger than all the armies in the world. I don't have any more time to devote to you, I have to join Melvil who is waking up from his nap. He is barely 17 months-old. He will eat his meals as usual, and then we are going to play as usual, and for his whole life this little boy will threaten you by being happy and free. Because no, you will not have his hatred either.