A friend of mine once shared that he prefers that the “Lord have mercy” be removed in our Mass Liturgy. He is of the opinion that God has already given us His mercy and all we need to do is receive it.
Although I understand his point, I believe that we do need God’s mercy every day for the many weaknesses we fall into, some knowingly and others unknowingly. Perfection is not our state.
I also shared with him that often our request for mercy helps us to be merciful to others – when they hurt or offend us or when they ask for help. At times, it happens to me that when God has forgiven me and shown mercy in my financial failings (a debt is suddenly paid out or the debtor allows for an extension of the loan payment), I find someone coming to me asking for assistance.
Can I extend the same mercy given to me to the next person? When my husband comes home weary from work, and there are still many chores at home to be completed, and I take upon the tasks myself; it is not only love for him, but also mercy.
When your child has behaved badly and is afterwards remorseful, do we stop the nagging about his “sin” and embrace him and say, “all good now and try to move on”.
Many times, I am interrupted by a call or a text from people asking help, support or assistance, from helping in a funeral, needing to visit the sick in the hospital, caring for an elderly family member, or just completing their written homework.
When I respond with gladness and spirit of sacrifice, I am sure that it is God’s mercy working in me. In my own carnal nature, I would have resisted – sleeping in, eating out, going to the movies are much better ways to spend that free time.
Bishop Michael Duca in his reflection of God’s Gift of Merciful Love and Forgiveness (Dec 2015) when Pope Francis officially opened the Door of Mercy, wrote:
“We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity and peace. Our salvation depends on it. Every time we judge someone without mercy, we put their perceived sins first before we look at them with eyes of love and respect.”
I remember two instances in the last few months. There was a person in the church who used to annoy me. He had not done anything to me, nor spoken to me. It was just as I saw him as a person who served the church but because he was always doing the serving, I saw him as a man who did not want to give others a chance.
I needed to repent from this as this was not the way the Lord wanted me to regard people. In fact, the Lord convicted me through an illness of my eyes and my heart. I asked for an opportunity from the Lord to bring healing.
One day, we caught up after church and we had a good chat. He shared his life story to me and why he was serving in such an intense way. I felt so released from the bondage of prejudice! From that moment on, I was able to look at him with the eyes of love and mercy, and even gratitude for the work he is doing.
The second incident was a preconceived judgement. I was advised by many that a certain person was difficult to deal with. When I met her, I was very cautious, and even felt quite defensive at first. But in prayer, I asked that the Lord will give me opportunities to get to know her and overcome my unfounded dispositions. She had become a friend afterwards who trusted me.
Bishop Duca closes his homily by saying:
“The more we are aware of our own need of mercy, the more merciful we will be with others. Our relationships are determined by negative emotions like grudges, anger, judging and disappointment that affect the quality of our love… we need to remember we are agents of mercy so we need to strive to make love the inspiration and foundation of all our relationships with others, from family to the stranger we encounter during the day.”
I think this way – the mercy I give others might be the same mercy I will receive from another too. I have a special devotion to the Divine Mercy, propagated by Saint Faustina. I pray that asking mercy from Jesus and giving it to others does not happen only during His Feast, but lived when it is called for – at any moment.
Mercy is like a well-spring of life-giving water to a thirsty soul.
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16