Thursday, January 16, 2014


Mercy is a recurring theme in my life right now. For instance, today I sat down to do my devotional time and accidentally read next week's readings instead of today's. Yeah. I've been reading next week all week. The theme for next Thursday (spoiler alert!) is mercy. I only discovered the mishap when I pulled them up online to provide links for my blog. Whoops.

Yesterday, I was notified that someone had linked to one of my posts on, this one from Lent called "Bearing Wrongs Patiently." I reread the post and remembered how much we got out of that experience and vowed to re-run it this year.

All of this of course led me to wonder where there is a lack of mercy in my life. It didn't take long. The real question is where is there not a lack of mercy? "Mercy" is an easy thing to agree with and a challenging way of life. It's easier, often, to be judgmental, impatient, and unforgiving. That's what the world teaches, right? "Every man for himself" is the motto of the day and consensus consciousness agrees. The "me culture" of the 1970s is the one I grew up in and it is hard to overcome. "Self first and self foremost" is "normal."

Mercy is something else altogether. According to the Catechism,
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.  (2447)

The Corporal Works of  Mercy are definitely easier for me than the Spiritual Works of Mercy. I am quick to judge and slow to notice. The Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 5, has lots to say about this. "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy" (5:7) is just a starting point. I could write a treatise on the many teachings on mercy in this one chapter alone. In fact, since I have apparently already read all of next week's readings (duh!), I will dedicate next week's devotional time to just that, a small treatise on mercy as expressed in Matthew, Chapter 5.

Can you tell I'm working on fulfilling one of my New Year's resolutions? In particular, I'm working on the one to do with relationships, "Love with passion, live with forgiveness." Sometimes the words need wheels on them! Stay tuned . . .

PS - Please share with me your favorite thoughts or expressions on the subject of mercy.

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