Wednesday, February 17, 2016

God's Mercy for Me

The next two questions we considered at our January Potluck Breakfast for Catholic Homeschooling Moms were the following:

How does God show mercy to me?

First, His mercy comes through forgiveness. He is slow to anger, abounding in mercy (Ps. 103). He does not treat us as our sins deserve. Also we receive mercy through the grace He pours out on us daily to alieve our suffering hearts. As mothers, we definitely know that we cannot fulfill our vocation without Christ Jesus. Through the Old Testament lessons I mentioned earlier, we can further see God’s mercy when he brings good out of bad. I love the Mister Rogers quote:

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.

And this one from Pope St. John Paul II’s encyclical on God the Father, titled Rich in Mercy (he wrote an encyclical on each person of the Blessed Trinity, and it’s noteworthy that he titled the one on God the Father this):

In this way, in Christ and through Christ, God also becomes especially visible in His mercy; that is to say, there is emphasized that attribute of the divinity which the Old Testament, using various concepts and terms, already defined as "mercy." Christ confers on the whole of the Old Testament tradition about God's mercy a definitive meaning. Not only does He speak of it and explain it by the use of comparisons and parables, but above all He Himself makes it incarnate and personifies it. He Himself, in a certain sense, is mercy. To the person who sees it in Him - and finds it in Him - God becomes "visible" in a particular way as the Father who is rich in mercy. (see Eph. 2:4)

And, most importantly, it’s through His constant love that He shows us mercy. Every act of love is an act of mercy.

How do I accept God’s mercy (aka be merciful to myself)?

I think it’s important to know God and constantly seek to know more about God in order to accept His mystery of mercy. Pope Francis wants to teach us about His mercy:

Jesus is all mercy, Jesus is all love: he is God made man. Each of us, each one of us, is that little lost lamb, the coin that was mislaid; each one of us is that son who has squandered his freedom on false idols, illusions of happiness, and has lost everything. But God does not forget us, the Father never abandons us. He is a patient father, always waiting for us! He respects our freedom, but he remains faithful forever. And when we come back to him, he welcomes us like children into his house, for he never ceases, not for one instant, to wait for us with love. And his heart rejoices over every child who returns. He is celebrating because he is joy. God has this joy, when one of us sinners goes to him and asks his forgiveness.

We also have to love God and let God love us. I’m going to venture to say that many of us struggle with letting anyone fully love us, much less God’s infinite love. But this is what saves us from ourselves and our own failings as Pope Francis reminds us:

Jesus' attitude is striking: we do not hear words of scorn, we do not hear words of condemnation, but only words of love, of mercy, which are an invitation to conversion. “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again” (v. 11). Ah! Brothers and Sisters, God's face is the face of a merciful father who is always patient. Have you thought about God's patience, the patience he has with each one of us? That is his mercy. He always has patience, patience with us, he understands us, he waits for us, he does not tire of forgiving us if we are able to return to him with a contrite heart. “Great is God's mercy”, says the Psalm.

This is another reason I am always stressing to mamas to love yourselves, make time for yourselves. We need to care for ourselves by taking breaks and enjoying hobbies, finding ways to nourish friendships and nurture our souls. Loving ourselves prepares us to accept God’s love and mercy.

One way to love yourself this Lent and make time for spiritual reflection is to sign up for the Faces of Mercy Catholic Conference 4 Moms here! This online conference gives you unlimited access to over 20 quality presentations for the Lenten season, including a LIVE presentation this Saturday, February 20 by one of my favorite Catholic homeschooling moms, Jennifer Fulwiler! I've decided to highlight this excellent resource on the blog this week, because it fits in so well with our breakfast conversation from last month and is such a flexible, affordable, inspiring conference for moms! And you can get $4.00 off by entering my affiliate coupon code "mother" (any affiliate funds I earn will be used to offset the cost of our breakfast group's conference access, thanks)

Where do you need to acknowledge and accept God's mercy in your life in small and big ways?

No comments: