Mark Kelly: Giffords’s shooting perhaps part of ‘larger plan’

By Elizabeth Tenety Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’s husband Mark Kelly gave the closing prayer at the National Prayer Breakfast in … Continued

By Elizabeth Tenety

Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’s husband Mark Kelly gave the closing prayer at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington Thursday morning and related that his wife, who was critically injured in a shooting rampage last month, “continues to improve. Every day she gets a little bit better.”

Kelly remarked, “When something like this happens it’s natural to think ‘How, why could this happen? Why were six people killed?”

“We can’t ever know the answers to these questions. We won’t. But thankfully, miraculously, Gabby survives.”

Astronaut Mark Kelly, husband of wounded U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), listens to U.S. President Barack Obama speak at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington February 3, 2011.

“I was telling Gabby just the other night –two nights ago –that you know, maybe this event, this terrible event, maybe it was fate. I hadn’t been a big believer in fate until recently. I thought the world just spins and the clock just ticks and things happen for no particularity reason.”

“President Lincoln was a big believer in fate. He said ‘The almighty has his own purposes.’ He believed that there was a larger plan. I can only hope and I told Gabby the other night, that maybe it’s possible that this is just one small part of that same plan: that this event, horrible and tragic, was not merely random, that maybe something good can come from all this. Maybe it’s our responsibility, maybe it’s your responsibility, to see that something does.”

Kelly, a Naval officer and NASA astronaut, also put these events in a cosmic context:

“It’s humbling to see the earth [from space] as God created in the context of God’s vast universe.”

He then read a letter from his brother Scott, currently away on a space mission: “If anything good can come from this, it’s that we learn to work better together.”

“Prayer must be part of that effort” to do better on earth, Kelly said.

“Thank you, God bless you and please please please continue to keep Gabby’s thoughts and prayers in your heart. It is really helping. Thank you.”

More On Faith and suffering:

Why does God allow terrible things to happen?


Elizabeth Tenety Elizabeth Tenety is the former editor of On Faith, where she produced "Divine Impulses," On Faith’s video interview series. She studied Theology and Government at Georgetown University and received her master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. A New York native, Elizabeth grew up in the home of Catholic news junkies where, somewhere in between watching the nightly news and participating in parish life, she learned to ponder both the superficial and the sacred.
  • itsthedax

    First off: Mark Kelly should get a pass on any comments he makes for the forseeable future. He’s coping with a tremendous tragedy.With regard to this being part of god’s plan, let’s see:

  • bob2davis

    Why do people pray to the same god who allows or causes terrible things to happen? Pretty bizarre behavior. Don’t say because god acts mysteriously. No one would want a friend who act mysteriously, so why would anyone want such a strange god. Believers, you really need to give this some thought.

  • miknugget

    National Prayer Breakfast = Lame. Why not have a National Fantasy Friends Luncheon?

  • bruce18

    Lets seeSimple, he gave humans the free will to choose. If he stopped bad things from happening he would not be allowing a human being to exercise that right.

  • itsthedax

    Bruce18, if we have free will to choose, then how could the killings have been part of god’s plan? Does the free will of one person trump god’s plan for everyone?

  • thelaw1

    My heart goes out to Mark Kelly. He has been dragged through hell and back. The lapdog media first told us, and him, that his wife was dead. Then they blamed the massacre on political rhetoric, which the distraught Kelly repeated like it was fact. Who is likely to tell him that was a big lie?Any shooting being fate, is a delusion, but one that helps him cope.If the shooting was part of God’s plan, then what an a$$ hole of a God we have.A targeted act of violence by a disturbed man is not an act of god or part of a plan. The fallacy in the ‘plan’ argument is that God has no plan for us.Previous post:So God just sits back and allows your free will to interfere with innocents lives, and the faithful just remain mute. By all accounts these truths point to an evil God, who seemingly allows bad things to happen for what purpose?

  • 4Jaxon

    I sure hope Gabrielle gets better and is able to go back to work as a Represenative. She will have passed through hardship few of us have and perhaps, be able to provide some sane leadership to her peers in Congress.My best wishes and prayers for a speedy recovery to her and her husband.

  • lubes4u

    Bad things happen to good people because of ‘man’s’ sin. God prepared a perfect place for Adam & Eve and because of their sin, God removed them from the Garden of Eden to a world full of sin and imperfection. It wasn’t God’s plan but as the old saying goes, we made this bed and we will lay in it.

  • solsticebelle

    How ironic that it was a gay man who saved his wife’s life yet Mark Kelly is speaking at a breakfast sponsored by a group who wants to execute all gays.I have lost all respect for Mark Kelly because of this and I no longer care to read anything he says.As for a “greater plan” – GMAFB. If my spouse were shot by a man mad who was able to get all the guns he wanted, I would hardly be calling it a “greater plan”.Religion turns peoples’ brains to mush. Here is proof.

  • bruce18

    “Simple, he gave humans the free will to choose. If he stopped bad things from happening he would not be allowing a human being to exercise that right.”So God just sits back and allows your free will to interfere with innocents lives, and the faithful just remain mute. By all accounts these truths point to an evil God, who seemingly allows bad things to happen for what purpose…Perhaps we do not understand the plan correctly

  • elwoll

    Ah! That wonderful “deus ex machina.” If we don’t understand call it a god’s will, eternal design, whatever.

  • yeastie2

    So there’s a plan why all the people of Darfur were killed in the past few years? A plan why all the people in the Congo have been killed in the civil war there that has been raging for years? A plan why 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust? Or are God’s plans restricted to photogenic white women killed in the US? Give me a break! If these are the “plans” of a “loving” God, then I want nothing to do with him.

  • Trathsack

    Hm. Well – this is disheartening. While I don’t know Gabby or Mark – a couple people in my family do. Personally. So I felt terribly worried about who was shot, what happened and then overwhelmingly saddened by the news. Those of you who are saying you lost respect for him, his brains have been “turned to mush”, say he has no understanding…I feel really sad for you. This man almost lost his loved one. I’m sure that he is using his foundation to keep him strong, not standing alone against the world. That’s comic book hero material, not real life. In times of extreme emotion (good and bad) we look to what gives us strength. Who are any of us to question any others’ beliefs? It’s sad – truly sad that in a world where we rail against intolerance – we are so verbal about our own intolerance of what strength this national hero uses to cope with what has happened.I wonder if any of us would be able to function in the limelight and hounded by reporters nearly as well with our own husband, wife, mother, sister or father recuperating from something that should have killed her.I would be so lucky to have that kind of grace.

  • info55

    I do not believe that these shootings were part of a larger plan, but I do hope that Mark Kelly and Congresswoman Giffords believe that the larger plan is gun control and vigilant care for the mentally ill. That is the only good that could come of this tragic situation.

  • OneWhoSpeaksTruth

    Lets see—————————–Then why does god get credit for saving Giffords????

  • Freethotlib

    You’re a good man Mark Kelly and I wish your wife swift healing and the two of you a long and happy life. It would be a wonderful thing if others gave as much thought to this as you have. Thank you!!

  • james_m_reilly1

    Try not to be in the wrong place at the wrong time….whether you are a moose, a fish or a person.. it is the secret of survival…..

  • Nosmanic

    “Why does god get credit for saving Giffords?” the better question is why doesn’t Palin or Beck get credit for killing five innocent people in an attempt of one of they followers to going to the bullet box when the ballot box didn’t work.

  • luanne-h

    May Congresswoman Giffords recover fully, and may she and her devoted husband Mark have many more happy years together. Whatever one’s beliefs about God, this tragedy may serve a larger purpose if we take the time to reevaluate our gun control and mental health policies, and to look for common ground in our political interactions.

  • WmarkW

    “Why does God allow terrible things to happen?”Because God either doesn’t exist or do squat.If Ms. Giffords’ shooting is part of a larger plan, how do the six people who died fit into it?Psychopaths with guns is not a tool of infinite intelligence.

  • rannrann

    What is prayer exactly? Falling to one’s knees and praying to an almight being….hmmmmm ….or…..prayer is people doing what they do everyday to make life a better experience for themselves and others on this earth, doctors, teachers, mothers, fathers, lawmakers, fire and police officers, planned parenthood organizations, etc…..everyone and anyone who lends a hand to another during this journey…that is prayer.getting up everyday takes faith so I guess we live in a faith based universe whether one belives they have it or not, faith simply is as much a part of our existence and our breath, really one can’t get up another day without it the faith that is is all worth it in the long run. So I guess we all have a prayer breakfast each and everyday without all the hoopla about it.I agree with the one who said that Mark Kelly gets a pass on all he says because he is involved in the tragedy of the shootings.The fact is life and death are beyond our simple human comprehension. We can try and try to put our reasonings behind it all but they will always come up short, thankfully. The mystery is part and parcel of who we are and why we are, thankfully.There is no scripture that can even come close to explaining the mystery of our lives and our deaths, thankfully.

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