Mary, Mother of God
January 1, 2016
Pope Francis asks us to live out the seven corporal works of mercy and the seven spiritual works of mercy in this year of 2016. I invite you to make resolutions in this New Year around the themes of mercy.
What if we all resolved every day to make our lives more merciful? What if we offered our neighbor a second chance? What about visiting our overcrowded prisons? What about feeding hungry people? What if we stopped blaming people for the poverty in which people are steeped? What if we helped educate people about our faith? What if we welcomed people next to us in the pews of our churches rather than being angry that they took our spot in the parking lot? What if we reached out to a mother struggling to console her crying child? What if we forgave our fathers who psychologically and emotionally abused us? What if we stopped the grinding noise of shame in our own hearts?
Mercy is not about getting our act together so that God will forgive us. Mercy is not cleaning up our routines before we pray so that God will give us another chance. Mercy is not about getting our lives free from sin so that God will love us again. Mercy is not about not sinning so that we can be restored into the teaching of the Church. Mercy is none of these things. We do not save ourselves. Only God saves God’s people.
Mercy is coming to God absolutely vulnerable, broken and open, so that God may make a home within our sin. Mercy is about God reaching down to us in order to heal us so that we can walk beside people who are hurting, hungry, and thirsty or who are in prison. Mercy is God’s love made real within our hearts and in our actions toward people. We need God’s mercy so that we can look into the eyes of people without flinching, until we see the beauty of God’s love within others, until we recognize our selves in the eyes of the poor.
How about we all make an effort to begin our prayer each day asking for mercy in our world? Perhaps it will change our postures toward earthly peace, war, violence, guns, robberies, rapes and our ignorance about what people really face each day. How about if you started each day asking God for his merciful love?
So many people do not think that they are worthy of God’s love. So many people carry regrets, sin and shame with them for their entire lives. Perhaps this is the year to stop believing that you are unlovable in God’s eyes. Perhaps this is the year that you redefine or expand your image of God. Perhaps this is the year of love. Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.