A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Mercy Me

Posted on: April 12, 2016

As I pushed my cart through the store aisles this morning, Duffy’s song “Mercy” began to play over the loudspeaker.

It got me thinking about mercy—how we experience it, how we show it to others, and how we benefit from God’s mercy.

As children, we might think of mercy as that game where people try to bend back each other’s hands until they give up and say, “Mercy!” When we’re older, we might think of mercy as the kindness we show to those in dire need—such as the victims of a natural disaster, war or persecution—or as something a leader or a judge exercises in sparing a prisoner from a harsh sentence.

Every day, whether we realize it or not, we benefit from God’s mercy. Every day, we fall short of his expectations. Deliberately or not, we hurt others; we fail to show kindness even when it would cost us little; we refuse to recognize others’ needs, rights, dignity and humanity. Yet God continues to give us opportunities to learn from and correct our mistakes. To do better. To become more like him.

Do we ever wonder why? Read these words from Psalm 103:8-12*:

The LORD is merciful and gracious,

slow to anger and abounding in mercy.

He will not always chide,

nor will he keep his anger for ever.

He does not deal with us according to our sins,

nor repay us according to our iniquities.

For as the heavens are high above the earth,

so great is his mercy toward those who fear him;

as far as the east is from the west,

so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

Since we’re called to become more like Christ, if that’s what we truly want, then why do we hang onto our anger or hold grudges or vow to make others pay for their wrongs against us? Are we like the unmerciful servant who, forgiven his own debt, threw a fellow servant into prison until he paid what he owed (see Matthew 18:23-35)?

If God held onto his anger, if he paid us in full for our sins, if he insisted on our being able to repay what we owed without giving us the chance to repent and be forgiven, would we be able to stand before him?

May we remember these words of the Lord as he passed before Moses, being thankful that he is a merciful God and striving to be more like him:

“The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy and faithfulness, keeping merciful love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. . . .”

~ Exodus 34:6-7

(*Scripture quotes taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, 2nd Catholic Edition.)




Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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