Monday, March 7, 2016


I've been wanting to write about mercy for a while, in this Year of Mercy.  I'm not a theologian, and my philosophy degree was obtained long ago.  My only credential for talking about mercy, I think possibly, is as a parent.  The following are bits and pieces of wisdom I'm slowly drinking in from the well of Mercy.

Oftentimes, I think it's easy to think of mercy as a free pass.  Well, I can go do this and this, because God is merciful, right?   I think especially the way the media and our modern society covers the Year of Mercy, we may get caught into a narrow definition.  God does not hold grudges.  He is kind of like a parent who watches a child put a square peg in a round hole.  You want to step in, you want to smooth the way, but our individual choices can make our journeys harder or easier, dependent on our choices 

Yes, God is a God of mercy, a God of love.  You can not have mercy without conversion or conversion without mercy.  As Carlo Cardinal Caffara shared in "Eleven Cardinals Speak" (citation below).  "Mercy without (any requirement for) conversion is not divine mercy.  It is the mistaken pity of an incompetent and/or weak physician who contents himself with bandaging wounds instead of treating them."

As St. Ambrose said: "I will not glory because I am free of sins, but because sins have been forgiven me." 

Vatican Radio did a recent podcast talking about a woman whose son had died in World War I.  She had had a dream that an angel had told her she could have 10 minutes with her son.  What period of life would she like to spend with him?  When he was an infant?  When he was a bright-eyed soldier going off to war?  No, she told the angel, I want to spend the time with him when he was little and told me he hated me.  He then came back a couple of minutes later, teary-eyed and knowing he was wrong and apologized to me.  That's the time I spent with him when I loved him most.  The point of their podcast is that is when God loves us most.  When we come back to him, when we know we are wrong and we ask for his mercy.

Our pastor shared the following with us in this Year of Mercy.  This was found written, scribbled on a piece of wrapping paper in a place where over 50,000 people had died.

The Ravensbruck Prayer

Lord, remember not only the men and women of good will also those of ill will.
But do not only remember the suffering they have inflicted on us.
Remember the fruits we have brought, thanks to this suffering--our comradeship, our loyalty, our humility, the courage, the generosity, the greatness of heart which has grown out of all this.
And when they come to judgment, let all the fruits we have borne be their
forgiveness. Amen 

Some following resources on mercy I would recommend:

Among Women Podcast:  Blessed, Beautiful and Bodacious.  This is a beautiful and inspiring podcast that discusses Saints and women's aspirations for Holiness.  I would recommend Espresso Shot #6: The Year of Mercy

Eleven Cardinals Speak on Marriage and the Family.  Essays from a Pastoral Viewpoint.  Ignatius Press.  San Francisco 2015.   A beautiful book discussing the Synod on the Family as well as mercy.

Left To Tell: Discovering God Amidst The Rwandan Holocaust. Immaculee Ilabigizza

Images By Pixabay

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