Thursday, November 8, 2012

Devotion for today: Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

As we continue our look at the Beatitudes in this, the Year of Faith, let us take a good look at what it means to truly be merciful. It is more than giving alms to the poor.

Scripture for meditation: Matthew 5:7
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Scripture for reflection: Luke 15:32
"It was fitting to make merry and be glad, for this your brother was dead and is alive; he was lost and is found."

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us: 2447: The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities. Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead.

Pope John Paul II tells us: What took place in the relationship between the father and the son in Christ's parable is not to be evaluated "from the outside." Our prejudices about mercy are mostly the result of appraising them only from the outside. At times it happens that by following this method of evaluation we see in mercy above all a relationship of inequality between the one offering it and the one receiving it. And, in consequence, we are quick to deduce that mercy belittles the receiver, that it offends the dignity of man. The parable of the prodigal son shows that the reality is different: the relationship of mercy is based on the common experience of that good which is man, on the common experience of the dignity that is proper to him. This common experience makes the prodigal son begin to see himself and his actions in their full truth (this vision in truth is a genuine form of humility); on the other hand, for this very reason he becomes a particular good for his father: the father sees so clearly the good which has been achieved thanks to a mysterious radiation of truth and love, that he seems to forget all the evil which the son had committed. The parable of the prodigal son expresses in a simple but profound way the reality of conversion. Conversion is the most concrete expression of the working of love and of the presence of mercy in the human world. The true and proper meaning of mercy does not consist only in looking, however penetratingly and compassionately, at moral, physical or material evil: mercy is manifested in its true and proper aspect when it restores to value, promotes and draws good from all the forms of evil existing in the world and in man. Understood in this way, mercy constitutes the fundamental content of the messianic message of Christ and the constitutive power of His mission. His disciples and followers understood and practiced mercy in the same way. Mercy never ceased to reveal itself, in their hearts and in their actions, as an especially creative proof of the love which does not allow itself to be "conquered by evil," but overcomes "evil with good." The genuine face of mercy has to be ever revealed anew. In spite of many prejudices, mercy seems particularly necessary for our times. (Encyclical Letter: Dives in Misericordia - On the Mercy of God)

My thoughts: We don’t always get what we want, on any level in our lives. Our friends disappoint us, our family members disappoint us, and even our own country can disappoint us. Blessed John Paul II tells us that we must take our feelings of anger and hurt and instead of giving into them, lifting them to a higher level of love which will cause us to exhibit the true and proper meaning of mercy: that which restores to value, promotes and draws good from all the forms of evil existing in the world and in man. Blessed John Paul refers to the parable of the prodigal son, where the father is able to see that his mercy for his son leads his son to true conversion. That is the goal of our lives, isn't it: to bring as many people to God as possible? We can’t do this if our behavior simply judges and evaluates people, and finds them deficient. We must be merciful, even if that means that, in the midst of our hurt and upset, the best we can do is pray for the person who has so upset us. As Blessed John Paul II points out, the person giving mercy receives mercy as well. It is good to know that the more merciful we become, the holier we become. We must also remember that we too will commit grave errors in our lives and will need to be forgiven by others as well as by God. Let us never forget that receiving the mercy of a fellow human being keeps us humble, and holy, and receiving the mercy of God will give us eternal life. Mercy, for all of us, is a two way street. As Shakespeare tells us, “It blesses him who gives, and him who receives.”
 (The Merchant of Venice).

Written by St. Maria Faustina 

"O Lord. I want to be completely transformed into Your mercy and to be Your living reflection. May the greatest of all divine attributes, that of Your unfathomable mercy, pass through my heart and soul to my neighbor.
Help me, O Lord, that my eyes may be merciful, so that I may never suspect or judge from appearances, but look for what is beautiful in my neighbors’ souls and come to their rescue.
Help me, O Lord, that my ears may be merciful, so that I may give heed to my neighbors’ needs and not be indifferent to their pains and moaning.
Help me, O Lord, that my tongue may be merciful, so that I should never speak negatively of my neighbor, but have a word of comfort and forgiveness for all.
Help me, O Lord, that my hands may be merciful and filled with good deeds, so that I may do only good to my neighbors and take upon myself the more difficult and toilsome tasks.
Help me, O Lord, that my feet may be merciful, so that I may hurry to assist my neighbor, overcoming my own fatigue and weariness
Help me, O Lord, that my heart may be merciful so that I myself may feel all the sufferings of my neighbor. 
May Your mercy, O Lord, rest upon me" (Diary # 163).

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