The Christian Call to be Merciful
“Then I heard the words, ‘I am glad you behaved like My true daughter. Be always merciful as I am merciful. Love everyone out of love for Me,
even your greatest enemies, so that My mercy may be fully reflected in your heart.’” (No. 1695) (Diary of Divine Mercy: Sister Faustina)
What does it mean to be a sinner? I suppose one way to see it is that we often fail to do what we know is right, and make a choice to seek a short term answer to a problem. Which in the end only causes more problems that are often passed down from one generation to the next.
To show mercy, to be merciful, is not a counsel, but mandated. In Colossians 3:12 Paul says: “So as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”.
Now that is a lifelong project for most of us! In my own life this seeking to deepen my compassion, mercy, and love for others can be exhausting.
I have found that most of my issues with others come from my desire to control them in some way. So over the years, I have slowly learned to let go and allow others to simply be. I still fail and get up yet again.
There is a Catholic devotion that was revealed to Sr. Faustina by Jesus on how to pray in such a way that it calls down Divine Mercy on the whole world. This can be a prayer of deep healing for those who say it with awareness. Prayer is the lifeblood of the soul, it deepens our connection with the infinite, revealed to us in Christ Jesus, who tells us of the Father's love. To see Jesus is to see the Father.
Hearts are wounded, divided, wanting to do one thing, but in reality doing the exact opposite. We often ‘sin’ because we cannot stand the pain that life brings to us, so we seek relief in many assorted ways, many of them only adding to our problems, and yes suffering. Some of our strategies do not adversely affect our relationships with others. However, some of the ways of coping can bring suffering and chaos into our lives.
With all, we have to deal with how can we become more loving and merciful? We are not loving by nature. Yes for our families, and friends, tribe, and country we can be kind and loving as long as we get along, and do not cause too many waves. We do not normally love those outside of our circle. I am not talking about emotions, or sentiments, which come and go, and change often during the day, and even hourly. Love is deeper than that, which is shown in the love that parents have for their children. Those outside of our tribe can be treated with indifference, hostility, and even violence.
Yet, we are called to imitate Christ Jesus, who looks at life, at least for us, in an upside-down fashion. Though I believe we are the ones who do not get it right.
If one says the Chaplet of Divine Mercy thoughtfully and with an open heart, the realization that the prayer is in fact, in reality, for absolutely everyone, no exceptions, and that the prayer deeply rooted in God’s moment, encompasses past, present, and future generations. In the Chaplet, we ask for the Father’s mercy for all. So when praying this chaplet, if we consciously bring into the prayer even those we are struggling with, hate, or even want to do violence towards, can lead to inner healing.
One cannot pray for anyone one hates. Or if you do, once you start to pray, the hook of hatred is slowly loosened until finally it drops off. The grace of this prayer is not only to give mercy by praying for all but also in receiving it, for we all have fallen in many ways that have hurt and damaged others, even if forgotten. We always have good reasons for what we do, even if what we do is harmful to others.
I am sorry I keep saying ‘we’, but I do not have the skill to write any other way. I am speaking of my own struggles, and simply sharing them. I cannot speak for anyone else. There are truly loving, kind, compassionate people out there, I meet them every day. So the struggle continues, so I pray. “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and the whole world”.
Don’t forget, we are called to have mercy on others, sometimes we also need to understand that we need to have mercy for ourselves.—BrMD