Reflections of God's Goodness
The world around us continues to experience hatred in horrifying displays of violence. It is difficult to feel safe anywhere.
As followers of Christ, we are called to respond with love and mercy—to act like God who pours out His mercy on the just and the unjust—on the saint and on the sinner. We cannot allow fear to change who we are.
Pope Francis keeps calling us to“extreme mercy.” As you know, mercy is not our first inclination in the face of violence, conflict, or even everyday meanness. No, it takes great strength of will. However, mercy is not without reward.
Blessed are the merciful for they will receive mercy.
Shakespeare took the same thought into some famous lines from The Merchant of Venice:
The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
Remember when Jesus encountered the woman caught in adultery? The Pharisees called His attention to the law; “Moses commanded us to stone such a woman,” they told Him. “What do you say?” Jesus felt no pressure to respond. In fact, He quietly drew in the sand and said,“Let the one among you who is without sin cast the first stone.”What happened? Each person present had to take a look at themselves and they slowly went away. To the woman, Jesus asked, “Has no one condemned you?” Jesus looked at her with love and said, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
God meets us where we are and gives us what we don't really deserve. Our mercy to each other comes from God’s mercy to us. Fully understanding that will help us be merciful to others.
In difficult situations, act like Jesus! Take time to reflect on the law of love…let silence give you time to choose a gentle response of mercy. Although terrorism may seem to threaten our very way of life, “Nobody can take away from us the freedom to believe, to hope, to live, to pray, to be a child of God.” (Fr. Jacques Philippe, French spiritual writer).
Sister Mary Ann Barnhorn
Director of Development
Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will,
to act or not to act, to do this or that and so to perform
deliberate actions on one’s own responsibility.