“You hurt me. You hurt a lot of people but God forgives you, and I forgive you.”

The daughter of Ethel Lance, one of the victims of the Charleston Church tragedy, spoke these words to the man who hatefully took the lives of nine churchgoers last week. Her merciful response reflects how the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston has reacted to this devastating loss. Through their forgiving responses, the church community in Charleston serves as a tremendous example for all women and men of goodwill.

The road down the Christian life is narrow and difficult. In the face of pain and suffering, our faith calls us to choose the more loving, merciful response. Taking the narrow path means choosing love when it is easier to hate, forgiving in the midst of anger, and showing mercy when we most desire revenge.

Today, ask God to reveal to you the moments in your recent past when you have chosen the narrow path and times when you’ve avoided it. Join me in praying for all those who mourn the lives taken in this tragedy.

—Aaron Pierre, S.J., a Jesuit scholastic of the Wisconsin Province, is studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.