I am so grateful for this pope and this focus on mercy. I think it takes a deep understanding of sin to understand mercy. It also takes a deep understanding of justice to understand mercy. Until we truly see how wounded we are and how we have hurt others, we don't see the need for mercy. And, until we get to heaven, I don't think we will understand the extent to which God's justice is merciful and also His mercy is justified. It is a great mystery.
As St. Benedict reminds us in the Rule (chapter 4) "Never despair of God's mercy."
For this year of mercy, I have resolved to finish reading the Diary of St. Faustina. I have begun this book. It's long, but it's been lovely so far. I just am waiting for a revelation of the deep love and mercy of God. I know that St. Faustina can lead me there. I have heard of so many others who struggle with their image of God and struggle with sins of their past find healing in the Divine Mercy. I know it's there for us all.
I have resolved a few years ago, after my re-conversion, to go to confession at least once a month. I also resolved again to do that on a recent birthday. I haven't been religious about that, but I have gone regularly. For the year of mercy, I want to make sure to go to confession at least once a month. It is a sacrament of healing. I know in my experience, no matter the sin I'm confessing, no matter the priest, no matter how long it has been since the last confession, I have always always found mercy and healing in the sacrament. God meets me there in a way I cannot describe. It is deeply healing.
Finally, I resolve to practice mercy in my everyday life. What does that look like? I'm not sure. I just know I can do better. First of all, it starts by giving others the benefit of the doubt when they offend me or wrong me. That includes offering patience and withholding judgment. Secondly, there are the corporal works of mercy: 1) feed the hungry, 2) give drink to the thirsty, 3) shelter the homeless, 4) clothe the naked, 5) visit the sick and imprisoned, 6) bury the dead, 7) give alms to the poor and the spiritual works of mercy: 1) admonish the sinner, 2) instruct the ignorant, 3) counsel the doubtful, 4) comfort the sorrowful, 5) forgive all injuries, 6) pray for the living and the dead, 7) bear wrongs patiently. I know I can do better in each of these areas. I'm not sure how to do this in an intentional practical way, but I want to make progress during this year of mercy.
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"Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." - Matthew 5:7