Reflections of God's Goodness
As we continue our journey through the Year of Mercy, we are deepening our understanding of this awesome God whose standout attribute is ‘loving kindness’. Pope Francis wants the celebration of the Holy Year to be “a true moment of encounter with the mercy of God.” The Hebrew word for mercy is “hesed” which he says translates as “the loving kindness of the heart of our God.”
“For His loving kindness
is great toward us.
And the truth of the Lord
Praise the Lord!
We can extend loving kindness to others—and we must! Scripture itself tells us to “love our neighbors as we love ourselves.” The self-love we are talking about springs from the depths of our gratitude to God for this gift of life and grace and mercy. This attitude of gratitude starts inside and works its way out in mercy toward others!
Loving kindness challenges us to ‘see’ who needs mercy. This kind of seeing refers to the ability to get inside someone else’s skin until you think their thoughts, feel their emotions, understand their pain and as a result, seek to relieve it.
Jesus gave us an example of this “seeing with eyes of mercy” in the story of the Good Samaritan. Two people looked at the person in need but did not ‘see’ him. Only the Good Samaritan’s eyes were open and he was moved to pity and compassion. Compassion urges us to take action to alleviate the pain of another.
From this perspective then, we can reach out to help others. Loving kindness is not choosy, it gives to someone in need, regardless of our feelings for them or about them or their actions. Friends, the world we live in does not support loving kindness. We are called to be forgiving, kind and gentle; to forgive offenses and show extraordinary kindness no matter what another has done. Isn’t this how God is toward us?
We are God’s mercy and love in the world and He is reaching out to our friends and families and even the whole world through us, as we commit to be mercy-givers, offering loving kindness in action. May our efforts change our world, one person at a time.
Sister Mary Ann Barnhorn
Director of Development
But because of His great love for us,
God, who is rich in mercy,
made us alive with Christ
even when we were dead in transgressions—
it is by grace you have been saved.
And God raised us up with Christ
and seated us with Him
in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,
in order that in the coming ages
He might show the incomparable
riches of His grace,
expressed in His kindness to us
in Christ Jesus.