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To Repair the Damage

  • Category(s): Religion Essays
  • Created on : 14 October 2014
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  • Author: Richard Michael Lamb


Richard M. Lamb’s personal explanation of the importance of reconciliation in human affairs


This is the ultimate quest for R.M. Lamb Esq. The words were first coined by Father Michael Archer (died 2nd August 2014) of Westminster Cathedral to R.M. Lamb shortly before this priest’s death. He spoke in those terms in relation to my sin, confessed to him, of wrongfully and abruptly ending the employment of two employees of my firm, one in 2013 and the other in 2014 (confessed June 2014).


I extend the ambit of those words to putting right relations between spouses and conciliating in interfamilial relations generally. Furthermore, the words apply to restorative justice and the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. They also encompass opposing parties, sectarian factions and different races coming together to create peace and to rule a country e.g. Ulster. International relations are built upon diplomacy and the sustaining impetus of cordial ententes e.g. Franco-German alliance post 1945. The USA has done an enormous amount diplomatically, financially, politically and militarily in South East Asia, Europe of the West, Central Asia and the Near East since 1945 at no small cost to its armed services personnel. Not to mention the USA budget. Inter-religious dialogue is at the heart of repairing past breaches, so is achieving harmony between Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

3. Criminal Justice and the Death Sentence Implication:

The ultimate sentence satisfies the demands of Justice that the victim family’s hurt and injury and his wrongly taken life should be properly repaired in this deeply honoured in our ancient criminal practice Christian way. The Judge in the Capital trial is the pinnacle of virtue, legal power and discretion – he alone may be the arbiter between life and death for the convicted murderer. His sentence is so strong and pure, only that decision may reconcile society’s abhorrence of the crime of murder, to this terrible crime and its perpetrators. I argue the correctly imposed death sentence is the final repairing act of the bridge between man and God in respect of that murder. The Godhead proclaims His price – the Judge decrees accordingly and the prisoner at the Bar pays the Judicially chosen penalty. Justice will then be seen and done.


The concept of repairing the damage also involves the placing of oneself on the line to achieve that aim. You cannot repair the damage by tinkering as Father Michael Archer and I recognised. I had to make a very large step of self-deprecation and self-effacement in accepting my turpitude over those two dismissed employees and it took over six months to sink in to my conscious being. They (the employees) have both responded positively. My own prostrating myself before God in confession in regard to these employees was putting myself unemotionally but wholly on the line for the sake of making right the injury I had caused to them both. Make no mistake! I went so far as to offer them their jobs back in June/July 2014.


Life is one long work of repair as Father Michael Archer recognised with me in my two confessions and his “Damien of the Lepers” 2012/2013 sermon. Damien laid down his life for his friends: the lepers and also for us sinners his newly found flock in their place. Time is irrelevant – what example then and now! I recognised Damien’s self-sacrificing life in 1964 aged 11 years for my confirmation. Father Michael Archer sealed the name of Damien in my soul once again in his 2012/2013 “Damien of the Lepers” unforgettable sermon. Damien is the best example of an individual repairing the damage in his care for the truly afflicted 19th Century colony of Pacific Island lepers, and also in his never ending affection and prayers for us, his broken humanity whether we know him by name or not. Father Michael and I most certainly did and we rejoice in his Beatification (Brussels 1995) and Canonisation (2007 Rome). It was Father Michael who wisely reminded us in this Homily of the salient features of Damien’s life of service to the lepers and that servant of all Crown makes the humble priest Damien, like Father Michael Archer, one of the greatest of all. That is an accolade very rarely achieved but these two modern Catholic priests attained that prize without doubt in my vision. Damien repaired the damage at the cost of his own life. Father Michael learned that Saint Damien message, and passed it on by his holy words and example of sincerity and honesty to all who met him, whether they would agree or not. He believed in Saints and repairing the breach.