Some time ago my preschool-aged niece was disciplined by her teacher for making a bad decision in the classroom, and news of the naughtiness eventually made its way back to her parents. My sister-in-law, in the gentlest way possible in the midst of a morning cuddle, spoke to my sweet niece about what she did and why it was wrong.
Of course, dear niece's tender heart was so ashamed that the tears flowed, big and loud. She knew she had done wrong. She knew she had disappointed her teacher and her parents.
We can all understand her heart, can't we? Every day I'm disappointed by my own failings. Every day I'm grieved by the many transgressions around the world that hurt Our Lord and chip away at our relationship with Him. It stings through and through when we don't live up to our calling.
Even at the tender age of four my niece knew the same.
But today's readings are all about the mercy of God. The First Reading from the Book of Micah proclaims boldly that the Lord doesn't persist in anger forever, but rather delights in being merciful. His compassion is so great, so vast that He wishes to cast each of our sins into the depths of the sea (see Micah 7:18-19).
These are beautiful words to ponder, sisters. In our own "spiritual cuddles" with the Lord they remind us that He's present in all gentleness. He helps us to come to terms with our shortcomings. He gives us the grace to do better tomorrow.
How beautiful for my niece to know this mercy at such a young age! How beautiful for her to learn that God is merciful just like her parents are merciful. Her family's life and love are the real-time version of these beautiful words from Scripture.
If you are feeling ashamed by sin today, sister, let's trust in these words from Scripture. He always holds the door of mercy open.