“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
Mercy bestows freedom on the one who receives it, as well as the one who gives it.
When I experience the Lord’s mercy in confession or in a state of surrender after realizing a wrong I committed against another, and ultimately, against God, I feel as though I am being cleansed with a refreshing spring of life-giving water, which I know is the Holy blood and water which flows from Jesus’ pierced side.
I feel humbled at the realization of how unworthy I am of this mercy. How so many sins I have committed in this life are deserving of endless suffering. Of how in the garden, when Jesus was bearing the sins of the whole world, both committed and all those to be committed, how many of those sins were my own. How this saddens me to know I was a part of Jesus’ pain in that moment of time. And with what great love He took on the sins of the world, including my own.
He knew what would happen. He knew I would turn against Him; I would deny Him again and again. He foresaw my actions before they came to be. Yet, even now, as I look upon Him up on the cross He smiles down at me. He did it all for me, and for all of His children. The pain He suffered, He suffered knowing it would give us a chance to spend forever with Him, if we only realize the ultimate act of mercy He gave us and surrender our lives to Him. His greatest act of mercy gave us the freedom to chose Him, surrender ourselves to Him, be forgiven, be cleansed in life-giving water and live in freedom in His Love and His Heart forever. How great is Our God!
Seeing my gratitude towards Him is genuine, Jesus takes me down a road filled with times I was given the choice to be merciful. So many times, I was not. Whether it was my pride or the desire to seek revenge, I held back mercy because in my woundedness I wanted the other person to feel the pain I felt. But oh, how I now see how my choice to not be merciful only bound me to misery. I, unlike Jesus and His Most Loving example, was not merciful and did not give myself the freedom to love the other completely, as He loved us, nor did I give the other the freedom to ask for forgiveness and make amends.
And then there were those times when I was merciful, only to be hurt again and again. At times the other took advantage of my kindness, and even worse, there were times even though the other knew their actions hurt me, they felt justified in doing so. “What am I to do then, Jesus? How can You expect me to be merciful even then?”
Jesus gently guides me back to the image of Him in the garden, kneeling, praying, knowing we too, especially those of us who claim to love Him, would take advantage of His kindness. At times we would not see how we were hurting Him, and even worse, sometimes would justify our actions knowing they were sinful and knowing our actions could be hurtful to others. He knew all this; He saw it all before it came to be.
He allowed Himself to be tortured. He asked God to forgive those who tortured Him. He suffered the most cruel death. In His great love for us, He gave us His mother to be mother of us all. In sum, He gave the ultimate act of mercy.
After contemplating this, He leads me back to those who have recently hurt me, and at times, continue to do so. Gently, for each one, Jesus shows me His love for them. He shows me His love for me. He asks that I leave justice to Him. He asks I refrain from revenge, even the most accepted kind in our world, in the form of venting. He asks that I show them mercy. The very kind of mercy He gave us, and gives us each and every day.
After giving me the grace to experience a merciful and forgiving heart towards them, I then feel a sense of freedom to love them, even in their woundedness, as Jesus loves me in mine. It is a freedom that is filled with pure love and joy. I no longer feel bound to be judge and jury of the others and their actions. I am free to focus solely on Jesus, and my own journey to grow closer to Him. I am bound to misery no more! Jesus then speaks to my heart gently that I must continue to surrender to His will; I must continue to ask for the grace to be merciful, for my heart is weak without His grace.
May we give ourselves to Mary, and Her Most Immaculate Heart, so she may lead us to Jesus and His Most Sacred Heart, so we may we reside there forevermore.