One of the things that has always most struck me about Christianity is how often there are very simple, yet powerful truths I can so easily overlook or avoid.
You know what I’m talking about right? Those teachings of Jesus we conceptualize in our hearts and absorb in our head. But sometimes, they just don’t translate very well to our hearts.
Mercy vs. Judgement.
Pray for those who persecute you.
Pick up your cross daily and follow Me.
Love my neighbors the same way I love myself.
Forgive 70 x 7.
It is that last teaching of Jesus, particularly the devotion of Divine Mercy that has taught me how to forgive. Who knew I had so much to learn about mercy and forgiveness?! Well, I guess God did.
During the Year of Mercy, I was going through a divorce and was awaiting a decision from the tribunal in regards to my annulment case. I have had to forgive a lot of people starting with my former spouse for pain and trauma. I had to offer kindness to my own healing for my own wrong doings and insecurities I dragged into my marriage. I had to forgive the Catholic Church both institutionally and personally. I had to forgive well-meaning people or priest’s who made unknowingly insensitive comments to me.
I began to really study and reflect on the teaching of Divine Mercy Jesus gave to Saint Faustina, His missionary on earth to remind us of the great mercy of our God. Praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy was a constant way to let go and keep my heart soft.
Mercy has changed me radically. Because just as Christ is merciful to me, I am called to show the same mercy to all people. If not, then all this following-Jesus-church-going stuff is a lie. There is no excuse, no reason to say it doesn’t apply to me or my unique situation. Either it does or it doesn’t.
The message of Divine Mercy has taught me we have to forgive the unforgiveable in others because Jesus Christ has forgiven the unforgiveable in me, in you! And mercy and forgiveness do not mean you forget or allow yourself to be a door mat. No, but rather mercy and forgiveness are insurance for our hearts. Insurance protects things like our cars or homes. And we need spiritual insurance to protect our hearts and souls . . . and that is the power of mercy and forgiveness.
In his Papal Bull for the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis writes:
“We are called to show mercy because mercy has first been shown to us. Mercy is a key word that indicates God’s action towards us. He does not limit himself to merely affirming his love, but makes it visible and tangible. By its very nature, it indicates something concrete: intentions, attitudes, and behaviors that are shown in daily living. Just as he is merciful, so we are called to be merciful to each other.”
No matter the pain or hurt you have faced sisters, we are called as Christian women to go be mercy out in the world.
Go be mercy; live mercy; love mercy.
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Because our world is achingly desperate for it.
Written by Patty Breen. Find out more about her here.