MERCY

 

Mercy is love that seeks to forgive, console, assist, and care for others in time of need. God is love and mercy, and we are called to be merciful to others as He is merciful to us. It is an act of love not done expecting an affirmation or anything in return; it is done for love itself.

Jesus told Blessed Faustina to "proclaim that mercy is the greatest attribute of God. All the works of My hands are crowned with mercy." (Diary, p. 301)

Imagine the love and pity our Lord had for the repentant sinner Mary Magdalene. He read her heart and knew how remorseful she was, much more so than the self-righteous Pharisees who thought they had ownership in the kingdom because of their social status. "Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from Me." (Isaiah 29:13) And when we sin, He wants us to humble ourselves, coming back to Him and asking for forgiveness. He told Faustina, "The greater the sinner, the greater the right he has to My mercy. My mercy is confirmed in every work of My hands. He who trust in My mercy will not perish, for all his affairs are Mine, and his enemies will be shattered at the base of My footstool." (Diary, p. 723)

The Lord wants us to return to Him with humility. "For the Lord you God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away His face from you, if you return to Him." (2 Chronicles 30:9) "Yet even now," says the Lord, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments." (Joel 2:12)

Many of us fall into a spiraling downhill cycle of sin and guilt and believe we could never be forgiven or even approach God because of our pathetic wretchedness and sinfulness. But Jesus ate with tax collectors and prostitutes saying, "I have come not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Luke 5:32) He told Faustina that He is ready to grant graces to souls but few are willing to accept them. "My heart overflows with great mercy for souls and especially for poor sinners. If only they could understand that I am the best of Fathers to them and that it is for them that the Blood and Water flowed from My heart as a fount overflowing with mercy." (Diary, p. 367) And like the parable of the prodigal son, the Lord will always take us back with open arms, for "when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of deeds done by righteousness, but in virtue of His own mercy." (Titus 3:4)

However, we are to be merciful to others just as we are to ask for His mercy. "Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful." (Luke 6:36) This can be accomplished in a number of ways., Sister Faustina wrote, "For there are three ways of performing an act of mercy: the merciful word, by forgiving and by comforting; secondly, if you can offer no word, then pray - that too is mercy; and thirdly, deeds of mercy." (Diary, p.1158) At any point in time, we may not be able to say a merciful word or perform a deed of mercy, but prayer is within the grasp of every soul. And when we do deeds of mercy, we should strive to see Jesus in our fellow man. Faustina recognized her shortcomings and prayed that she would be a reflection of His great mercy. " Help me, O Lord, that my eyes may be merciful, so that I may never suspect or judge from appearances, but look for what is beautiful in my neighbors' souls and come to their rescue. Help me, that my ears may be merciful, so that I may give heed to my neighbor' needs and not be indifferent to their pains and moanings. Help me, O Lord, that my tongue may be merciful, so that I should never speak negatively of my neighbor, but have a word of comfort and forgiveness for all. Help me, O Lord, that my hands may be merciful, so that I should never speak negatively of my neighbor, but have a word of comfort and forgiveness for all. Help me, O Lord, that my hands may be merciful and filled with good deeds, so that I may do only good to my neighbors and take upon myself the more difficult and toilsome tasks. Help me, that my feet may be merciful, so that I may hurry to assist my neighbor, overcoming my own fatigue and weariness, My true rest is in the service of my neighbor. Help me, O Lord, that my heart may be merciful, so that I myself may feel all the sufferings of my neighbor. I will refuse my heart to no one. I will be sincere even with those who, I know will abuse my kindness. And I will lock myself up in the most merciful Heart of Jesus. I will bear my own suffering in silence. May Your mercy, O Lord, rest upon me." (Diary, p. 163)

As we heal from the battles of life and continue our spiritual journey, we are also to let others know of His mercy. We are to be the light of the world, spreading the Good News of His great mercy. "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16) We must show love and mercy to all, not just to those in our social class or to whom we will benefit. "For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:20) We should strive to comfort the hurting through corporal and spiritual works of mercy and remind those in need that only He can bring true and lasting peace. "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:29-30)

 

O Lord, give us the courage to ask for Your mercy and the strength to be merciful to others. Help us become a beacon with bright light, guiding others in an unsettled and troubled world back to You, Who is Love and Mercy itself.

 

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