I love, love, love that Pope Francis has called for the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of MERCY. MERCY is everything! Think about it. You and I were created ex nihilo, out of nothing. From nothing with the invitation to join EVERYTHING. Invited to the breath taking, falling to your knees in adoration love of heaven, even now! Nothing to EVERYTHING. God is merciful to you over 100,000 times a day! Why? Because that is how many times the average human heart beats every 24 hours! Notice! That’s all MERCY! Tell me how much you have to do with making that happen? Tell me how much you had to do with the gift of your soul and everlasting life? And what about the MERCY of breathing, seeing, thinking, eating, birthing, inspiring, saving, loving, mercy-ing? It’s all MERCY!
Violence can so easily tear through my thoughts, words and actions. Do you share this struggle with me? The answer is MERCY. “Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” Philo of Alexandria/Socrates/Plate/ or whoever. Everyone you meet is hurting – be kind! Another quote that strikes the core of the Gospel – God’s revenge is MERCY! See how God’s first act to the sinful Adam and Eve was to dignify them by clothing them in their nakedness, shame and fear? And what is the first thing Jesus said to friends and foes alike who sold him down the river to be crucified? Peace be with you! Merton said God is, “MERCY within MERCY within MERCY.” Do you say and live the same?
Misericordia is Latin for mercy and connotes two words – “misery” and “heart”. MERCY is really about relieving someone from a heart of misery. Beloved, this is your mission in life. Augustine said that “MERCY and misery go together.” The reason there is MERCY is because there is misery. Misery abounds in our world but Jesus is Lord and takes it all away. There is only healing and peace and eternal delight in His company. Get people to Jesus!!
If MERCY is the core content of the Gospel, how come we use it so little in our families and relationships? When we are missing it, we are truly missing everything! I suggest personally starting with the Jesus prayer from Luke 18:13 where the publican, with head bowed down in humility knowing that his soul and eternal life are MERCY, cries out, “Oh God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” You can make this prayer real simple and end up becoming the prayer itself with all you think, do and say. And in sum, if you become this prayer you will truly be a Christian. Ready? It has to do with our breathing. You simply breathe in praying “Jesus” and you breathe out praying “Mercy”. If we become His MERCY we will relieve others misery by bringing them into the healing, peace and delight of Jesus. As you breathe in Jesus pray that He will replace your heart with His and then everything you think, do and say would be overflowing with MERCY. Pray to become this!
“The privileged locus of the encounter (with the Lord) is the caress of the mercy of Jesus Christ on my sin.” Papa Francesco. What a powerful image – caress! Instead of throwing stones, shooting guns and blowing up bombs; we caress one another’s misery with a soft and dignifying hand. Our only desire, the desire of MERCY, is peace, healing and joy for our brother or sister who suffers alone in misery.
The time for talking is over, no? Star with your families. Celebrate feasts of forgiveness (I use the plural here because we can do this over and over again)! Gather as a family and ask each other for forgiveness! Relieve each other with the caress of the One who saves us from our misery. Go to confession and become one with the One in whom there is no misery but only the Joy of Love’s presence. There is more Joy in heaven over one repentant sinner. “God never tires of forgiving. We are the ones who tire of asking forgiveness.” Papa Francesco. Who’s on your hit list? Who do you disdain? What grudges do you hold? Go to that person and like the publican bowed down in humility say, “_______, have mercy on me, a sinner.” This is the logic of heaven. This is the logic of MERCY. We need to incarnate this MERCY in infinite measure. Reconciliation means, “Eyelash to eyelash.” Go there.
Thank you for your MERCY to me this Christmastime an always, thank you for your prayers, presence and generosity. Thank you for relieving my misery and bringing me to the healing, peace and joy of Christ! May MERCY reign in our hearts and this world!
You Are Loved!