His Mercy Endures Forever!

posted Oct 15, 2009, 7:59 AM by Friar Suppliers   [ updated Mar 31, 2016, 10:36 AM ]

What exactly is mercy?  When I was a child, “Mercy” was the word I cried when my brother was either tickling me too much or twisting my arm in an act of sibling rivalry.  Both were a form of aggression; not exactly the mercy Jesus talks about.

In today’s generation, many people have the idea that mercy is turning an eye away from sin.  Does showing mercy mean we need to relax the “rules” for the sake of charity?  Tolerating sin is not mercy.

So what exactly is mercy?  Pope Francis’ whole pontificate seems to be based on the notion of mercy.  That is why he introduced 2016 as “The Year of Mercy.”  Although many people seem to misunderstand what he is offering to us; he is saying that mercy is not choosing to ignore sin or to look the other way, but to not judge and condemn.  He is asking the members of the church to love and show compassion.  By showing love and compassion we can become an invitation to someone’s conversion. As Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, “neither do I condemn you;  go and sin no more.”

Mercy does not condone or ignore sinful behavior.  We help no one get any favors when we ignore sin or pretend it’s okay.  This is actually, cowardly, uncharitable and unmerciful.  

Mercy means welcoming home the repentant sinner.  As in the parable of the Prodigal Son the father did not try to relieve his waywards son’s suffering when his son was starving.  He waited patiently for his return and and welcomed him with open arms.  Mercy also means being forgiving to the one who is asking for mercy.  It means supporting the person spiritually, emotionally, and physically to live a different life than before. This is what Pope Francis says we need to do better as a church.  Hate the sin, love the sinner.  This is mercy.

Mercy is always connected to repentance, conversion and sanctification.  True mercy forgives and then calls us higher.

Each of us is a sinner in need of mercy; there are no exceptions.  Each of us is called to respond to God’s invitation of mercy.  We all need to repent, be converted and strive to live holier lives.  Each of us wants this kind of mercy for ourselves, so we must also give it to others as well.

Unfortunately,  we meet so many people today who do not seek out the mercy of God, His Church or even to our little invitations of mercy.  Sometimes, our own hearts are hardened and we don’t even recognize our own need for repentance and conversion.  This is very sad.  This is why Pope Francis is calling for a “Year of Mercy.”  He wants to wake us up to our need for mercy and to come forward to receive it.

What should we do for ourselves and others during this extraordinary “year of Mercy?”

  1. Admit your need of mercy from God and from others you may have sinned against.

  2. Repent and ask for forgiveness by going to confession. Ask for forgiveness from those you may have hurt.

  3. Make a conversion plan:  Write down on a piece of paper what you will strive to change in your life.  Refer to it often.  Make yourself accountable or ask someone to help you be accountable.

  4. Make a pilgrimage to a church or shrine where the “Holy Door” is designated for the “Year of Mercy.”  Fulfill the requirements to receive a “Plenary Indulgence under the normal circumstance:  Confession, Holy Communion and prayers for the pope.

  5. Encourage others to do the same.  Offer to walk with them on their journey of repentance and conversion.

  6. Practice the Spiritual and Corporal works of Mercy.

The Spiritual Works of Mercy:  

Admonish the sinner, instruct the ignorant, Counsel the doubtful, Comfort the sorrowful, Bear wrongs patiently, Forgive all injuries, Pray for the living and the dead.

The Corporal Works of Mercy:

Feed the hungry, Give drink to the thirsty, Clothe the naked, Shelter the homeless, Visit the sick, Visit the imprisoned, Bury the dead.

January was a very busy month for “Friar Suppliers.” First came the Mission trip to Haiti for 10 days (which you will read all about in the coming months,) and then food shopping, sorting and packing which takes a week to complete. With the grace of God and all of your financial help and volunteers we can can say it was an extraordinarily successfully blessed month.  The CFR’s continue to grow each year. The Haiti mission continues to grow and grow.  There is so much fruit.    Fr. Benedict Groeschel once told Charlie that for every act of charity, there must be someone offering their suffering for the work. The  greater the work, the greater the suffering.  Well, there must have been a lot of suffering going on and being offered in January!!.  I am aware of many hardships that Friar Suppliers have had to bear and we thank you for your prayers and suffering.  Please know that your intentions are always remembered in the prayers of the Friars and Sisters as we Friar Suppliers all remember to pray for your needs and intentions as well.  We are so humbled by your generosity and so grateful.  Know that you are dearly loved by God and by all of us as well.  God bless you all.

Haiti needs:  Please send us Tylenol for the medical clinic in Haiti. Thank you.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 10th.  Already??  Already!!