My Word of the Year: Mercy

MERCY

I have never given much thought to mercy before. I usually try to concentrate on faith, hope, love, and humility when it comes to my spiritual life. However, my mother is very devoted to the Divine Mercy and has been for years.  I would like to say that this somehow has influenced me, but it has not been until this year that in my prayers I constantly hear the word mercy.

What is mercy? I’m not sure I truly comprehend yet, but I have all year to figure it out and why God is calling me to his mercy. This is what I do know about mercy: God reaches out to us in our wretchedness, sin, misery, and suffering and rescues us. He rescued us by sending Jesus to die for our sins, but he continues to do so in our everyday lives through grace. This mercy that God bestows upon us should lead us to be merciful towards others.

Being merciful to others is to not only feel compassion towards others, but to do something about it.  To do something about the sufferings of others, like feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick, teach the ignorant, pray for the living and the dead, console the sorrowful, comfort those in doubt, and forgive wrongs willingly, in other words, the Church’s spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

As a young Catholic I was very harsh with others, quick to point out their sins and didn’t hesitate to remind them of the teachings of the Church. Now that I’ve grown and especially with the message that Pope Francis has been spreading all over the world, I realize the need for mercy. The need we have to embrace and welcome everyone into our Church, and into our lives regardless of their situation or sin.

The message of the Divine Mercy revealed to St. Faustina is very clear:

“I demand from you deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse or absolve yourself from it.

If a soul does not exercise mercy somehow or other, it will not obtain My mercy on the day of judgment. Oh, if only souls knew how to gather eternal treasure for themselves, they would not be judged, for they would forestall My judgment with their mercy” (1317).

It seems like a huge task, but if we truly love one another, mercy cannot be far behind.

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