We love always to our fullest capacity. That might not be very great, but it can be learned. At first, we may love hesitantly and fearfully, for to open up to love takes courage. As we mature and develop our ability to have an open heart, we can slowly learn to love others for themselves alone.
The same can be said for the receiving and giving of mercy. It can be difficult to receive mercy from others, even if, like love, we experience the desire for mercy as a deep longing. Mercy, when we do actually embrace and accept it, is a healing event.
For mercy and love co-exist. If one is missing, the other is absent too. Mercy without love is condescension, love without mercy is controlling and in the end self-serving.
Love and Its Fruit
This week in the Catholic liturgy we celebrate “Divine Mercy Sunday.” A feast that focuses on the depth of God’s love for us, and the healing aspect of his mercy that is open to everyone who seeks it in their lives. Love is a form of seeing, and mercy is the fruit of seeing in love. Infinite love sees us all to our very depths, and in that seeing seeks only to heal and lift us up. Mercy is the way God shows love.
Mercy without love is condescension, love without mercy is controlling and in the end self-serving.
Sister Faustina Kowalska’s diary shows us to what depths God’s mercy is manifested towards all of mankind. Below is a quote from two different parts of her diary and one from the Prophet Isaiah.
“Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. … The greatest sinners would achieve great sanctity, if only they would trust in My mercy. The very inner depths of My being are filled to overflowing with mercy, and it is being poured out upon all I have created.”
“Though your sins are as scarlet, they may become white as snow; though they be crimson red, they may become white as wool.”
Responding to Grace
In order to grow, we must trust. As our trust and love grow as we draw closer to the Infinite, so does our ability to receive this love and mercy. When we seek God, we are responding to grace.
In this devotion to the Divine Mercy, we are called upon to pray for all of mankind, for mercy upon all. It is part of the vocation of being a Christian, to develop deep love and trust in Christ Jesus and to pray for the highest good for others, which I believe is the receiving of mercy.