Trust and Mercy
Reflections on Divine Mercy Sunday
|Trust and Mercy
Everyone wants to be happy. It is our purpose in life. Our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ knew this and left us steps to happiness. They are called the eight beatitudes. One of the steps to happiness is to be merciful. Thus, Our Blessed Lord said, “Blessed are the merciful.” St. Thomas Aquinas says that the merciful is one who has a sorrowful heart; being affected with sorrow at the misery of another as though it were his own. Since he is affected with sorrow of the other, he would want to dispel the misery of the other, which is the effect of mercy (ST I 21, 3).
Thus, when someone asks for forgiveness, we see the sorrow of the other and would forgive them. However, one cannot be merciful if he is not meek. How can one see the sorrow of another if he has pride? The only way I can see another's sorrow is if I see myself as not being greater than them. Therefore one must be meek before one can be merciful. To be meek is just seeing one's self as he truly is. He would see himself who has dignity, a person who is in the image of God. He must also see the other as none greater than him. He must see that the person is in the image of God. In this way, they are equal. Both deserve mercy and love.
And this is exactly how God saw man. God made man in the image of Himself. There is something in man that is so valuable that God would become man, die, and resurrect so that he can attain eternal life. In exchange for our humanity, God gives His divinity, that we may be partakers of the Divine Nature. This is what the Fathers meant when they said, “God became man that man might become God.” Even though man has sinned against God, God never forgot what He made, that is, good. He made man good. He never forgot this fact. He always remembers that even though man sinned against Him.
If God the Almighty, Who is infinitely greater than man, has mercy toward those who offends Him, should we not also have mercy to those who offend us? Whenever we feel greater than the other, we must always remember the Incarnation when God humbled Himself. We must also remember the agony of Jesus in the garden. Because of His agony, He was unrecognizable. This is why He had to tell the people, “It is I you are looking for.” We have to ask ourselves this question, “Would we have recognized Jesus' face?” Will we always recognize Jesus' face? Will we recognize Jesus' face especially in others' faces? Will we see Him in our friends, neighbors, and even our enemies? Will we see Jesus' face when someone asks for our forgiveness?
As the Catechism states: “Love, like the Body of Christ, is indivisible; we cannot love the God we cannot see if we do not love the brother or sister we do see. In refusing to forgive our brothers and sisters, our hearts are closed and their hardness makes them impervious to the Father's merciful love....” (2840). We must therefore love and be merciful to others if we truly love God. If we have trouble forgiving someone, we must try to see Jesus in them. We have to pray, “Lord Jesus, please show me yourself in others so that I can love you through them.”
Mercy of God
Some quotes on the divine mercy of God:
“Our sins are nothing but a grain of sand alongside the great mountain of the mercy of God.” -- St. John Vianney
“Where is the foolish person who would think it in his power to commit a sin more than God could forgive.” -- St. Francis de Sales
“Let your prayers go out to those on the left cross that they may be mindful of the expiatory value of their suffering; let your love also go out to the Good Shepherd on the central Cross who suffers so innocently for all the people, and because you never once thought of yourself but of others, or in other words, because you were merciful, you will hear the reward of mercy from the central Cross: 'This day you shall be with me in paradise.' In that way you become another Good Thief, for a good thief is one who steals Paradise!” -- Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
“Since God displayed His great mercy in so many ways even toward Judas, an apostle turned traitor, since He invited him so often to be forgiven and did not allow him to perish except through despair alone, surely there is no cause for anyone in this life to despair even if an imitator of Judas.” -- St. Thomas More
“God acts mercifully, not indeed by going against His justice, but by doing something more than justice; thus a man who pays another two hundred pieces of money, though owing him only one hundred, does nothing against justice, but acts liberally or mercifully. The case is the same with one who pardons an offence committed against him, for in remitting it he may be said to bestow a gift.” -- St. Thomas Aquinas
“Conversion to God always consists in discovering His mercy, that is, in discovering that love which is patient and kind as only the Creator and Father can be; the love to which the 'God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ' is faithful to the uttermost consequences in the history of His covenant with man; even to the cross and to the death and resurrection of the Son. Conversion to God is always the fruit of the rediscovery of this Father, who is rich in mercy.” -- Pope John Paul II
“Our only hope, our only confidence, our only assured promise, Lord, is Your mercy.” -- St. Augustine
To say that there is no infinite mercy in God is the same as saying there is no mercy in God since everything of God is infinite. But to take mercy from God is to make God un-God and hence, if there were no mercy, we should act like atheists who have no hope for eternal happiness since eternal happiness is based on the mercy of God.
Divine Mercy Sunday 2003
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