“Many a sin has sullied me in body and in soul because I did not restrain my thoughts nor guard my lips: nevertheless it is to Thee, O God of majesty and love, that I turn in my extremity, for Thou art the fount of mercy; to Thee, as quickly as I may, I speed: for Thou alone canst heal me; I take refuge under Thy protection.” ~ Saint Ambrose
In the year 2000, St. Pope John Paul II, when canonizing St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, proclaimed that henceforth the Second Sunday of Easter would be called Divine Mercy Sunday. St. Faustina wrote and spoke at great length about Divine Mercy and encouraged all people to pray the chaplet of Divine Mercy pleading, “Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”
The very truth of the matter, as both St. Ambrose and St. Faustina pointed out, is that we are in dire need of God’s mercy. Quite simply, we cannot survive and will not enter eternal life without it.
We do not like to be reminded about our need for God’s mercy. We would much rather think that we can do everything on our own. If we are honest with ourselves though, we know that we cannot. We need help. We need the help of others here on earth and we definitely need the help of God.
God’s mercy exemplifies itself in many ways in our lives. God does not desire to lose any of us and will do whatever is necessary to preserve us from the pain of death. To that end, God forgives us our sins if we but ask. God pours grace upon grace into our hearts so that we can face temptation courageously and make the right choices. God will provide any assistance that we might require.
But it all falls upon us. God is at the ready. We, for our part, need to ask God for His help. He is not going to force Himself upon us. That is the whole point of free will. We make our own choices and if we ask for aid, He will provide for us.
Of course, when we receive the mercy of God we must not only be grateful for it but we must embody it as well. That means that we must become merciful to and for others. How can we possibly expect mercy and forgiveness if we are not willing to extend mercy and forgiveness to others? That is the struggle of our Christian lives.
God is mercy. God is unconditional love. God is peace. God is good. All those attributes should be seen by others in us so that they, too, can celebrate God’s merciful love and become more like Him as well.
FAITH ACTION: Is there anyone is your life to whom you do not show mercy or love? Try to determine how best you can show God’s love to that person so as to give back to God for His mercy toward you.