Posts Tagged ‘mercy’

Miserere Nobis…

February 16, 2018

“ Agnus Dei… Qui tollis peccata mundi… Miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei… Qui tollis peccata mundi… Miserere nobis,
Agnus Dei… Qui tollis peccata mundi.., Dona nobis pacem ! “

Just in case your Latin is a bit rusty, or you have not been exposed to this part of the Holy Mass, this is
the part of the Mass where we say :

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world …. Have mercy on us.
Lamb of God.. Who takes away the sins of the world …. Have mercy on us.
Lamb of God . Who takes away the sins of the world…… Grant us peace.

Now, last Saturday morning I was at Holy Mass, along with my community. I was tired, exhausted and was going in to lead a meeting with an insufficient level of caffeine in my system ( one of my vices I confess). So there I was sort of in a fog, and placing myself in a spiritual place before Our Lord.

I read and listened to the readings, and the Gospel ( currently we are reading the Gospel of Mark).
Shortly enough we had reached the Eucharistic part of the Mass, and the pastor began this chant.
As I sat and joined in, I had a moment of clarity, or at least a moment of inspiration; all centering around this part of the Mass.

In particular, the word : miserere, caused me to stop and ponder. Of course, one of those challenges when I get some pointed inspiration during Mass is that we should be centered mentally and spiritually upon what is occurring in the present. That is important because of the fact that this point in time particularly is when Jesus is present in the sacrifice. To be present to Jesus is the highest calling, and the highest honor indeed. The pull however is that at some point *( this has happened to me personally a number of times) when I will be sitting there, I gain some insight, or some perspective that I consider would be great to share with all of you, and I force my head back into the Mass ( where it is supposed to be) and lo and behold, by the time I get out and drive all the way back home,,
BOOM ! Its gone.. I hate when that happens.

This however was not the case with this one.. This point struck me so that I had no problem remembering. SO, here it is..

The thing that struck me about this Latin word “miserere” is that it has a base for both the English words, MERCY and MISERY. Now think about that for a moment. The root of this word is
MISER whose meaning is “wretched”. Consider the idea that If we are wretched, and by that I mean sinful, which of course we all are, then we have need of mercy, which of course we also all need.

We have of mercy in our daily lives, both to give ( be a vessel for) or to receive mercy. Who among us can not see where we have a brother or sister who is suffering ? A brother or a sister who is in need, even if they are seemingly unaware ? In the process of our daily lives we may be equally unaware, that we ourselves are in need of mercy, to be able to see our own fallen nature, while at the same time we need to be able to see Christ in our brothers and sisters and accept their fallen natures, and accept them where they are.

I have faults as well all do, I fall as we all do.. As part of the Body of Christ, It is not that we fall, BUT HOW WE RISE !

May God give you the gift of His peace !


God’s Mercy…

May 20, 2017

Gods Mercy….

‘Just as you once disobeyed God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience,
so they have now disobeyed in order that, by virtue of the mercy shown to you, they too may [now] receive mercy.

For God delivered all to disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all.’ ( Romans 11:30-32 )

This passage is Paul talking is talking to his fellow Isrealites.. the Jews, of which he was one. and he is attempting to get them out of their “superiority complex” and get them to understand that they too sinned. Not only did they sin, but they sinned greatly, and God in his infinite love showed them mercy. They fell into sin which allowed them to be put into exile.. to learn of the great mercy and love of God. Now, it is the Gentiles who have fallen into sin, and they too will learn the lesson that the Jews should have learned that God indeed is loving and has infinite mercy.

Pain can be a mercy. Now before you all run off and think I have lost my mind and get any odd notions.. Consider this… How many souls have come to God in pain. How many souls reach the near end of their ropes, stripped of their preconceptions, feeling alone, and beaten, having suffered at the hands of the world. Who suffered through illness, pain, calamity, and then….. THEN.. it is that they come to realize that there is nothing…. they are nothing without God.

How many on their death beds… how many in fear and trembling ? For themselves, or those they love.
When you are at the mercy of another soul, who deigns to serve God, in the service of their brothers and sisters.

Think of the love and mercy Christ gave us on the cross. Think of the pains and challenges you have faced in your lifetime. You are given graces beyond recognition. You are given mercies you do not know, or even understand. The developement of your travels towards sanctification are held in the river of mercy poured out on all the world.

Consider the breadth of pain a teenager goes through as they attempt to figure out their world. Emotions that run the gambit, relationships and all the turbulence that goes with it. The terrible 2’s when infants are trying to figure out their world. Or when seniors get away from their jobs and again have to figure our their world.

Come to think of it, we pretty much spend a vast amount of our lifetimes trying to “figure it out”. All the while God has already given us the blueprint. We are however, like the Israelites of the Biblical era , hard headed, and hard of heart… and we do not listen.

God’s Love and Mercy endures forever…

May God give you the gift of His peace (and mercy) !

Blessed are the Merciful…

October 22, 2016

:Blessed are the merciful,

for they will be shown mercy. ” (Matthew 5:7)

This is the year that we have had a year for the celebration of mercy, as it was lead from Pope Francis.

We are coming to the close of the Year of Mercy, and so what have we learned ? What have we put into practice ? How has this year caused us to reflect on how we practice mercy, and what have we done to use this practice to enhance our spiritual lives or the lives of our brothers and sisters ?

In the book of James, we find James giving some instructions about how we are to treat each other.

In this chapter, we find James giving us specifically the example of how it is that we treat the poor. how it is that if we spend time looking at the rich who are brought into the church, and invited to sit in places of prominence, but the poor we tell them to stand in the back, or in some other out of the way place. We are given examples of how we offend the dignity of the human person, and the other children of God by our actions, even unto the very house of God.

“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. Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God ” ( CCC # 2447 )

The church teaches us these characteristics of what mercy is, Jesus throughout the scripture shows us examples of how this mercy is to be carried out. How have we internalized these works ?

In our daily lives, do we try to teach (Instruct) others in areas where we are knowledgeable ? Do we console those who are feeling down, or separated or in pain ? Are we forgiving of others ? Can we manage to have patience, and bear with others who wrong us unjustly ?

In many churches throughout the world, parishes have created a “Door of Mercy” through which everyone passes through, and there was a big “to do” made about the door and a liturgical blessing and celebration etc. What difference has it made for us ? Do we pass by the door, making a mental note of the fact that, “this is the door of mercy” and then thoughts drift off to the next thing. Maybe you pass by the door and it no longer makes you take pause to mark its existence at all because its been there all year… It is no longer “new” to us so we just accept that its there. Possibly, this is what has happened to our practice of mercy as well.

“In its various forms – material deprivation, unjust oppression, physical and psychological illness and death – human misery is the obvious sign of the inherited condition of frailty and need for salvation in which man finds himself as a consequence of original sin” ( CCC # 2448 )

In the world today we have these effects. These effects which we carry out in our daily lives, as a matter of course. These effects, these acts of both commission and omission, where we see the poverty, we see the injustice, we see the oppression of our brothers and sisters, and possibly, just like that Door of Mercy, that we pass by, we have seen it, we know its there, but we have become so accustomed to it that we no longer take note of it. .

The Church tells us that these human conditions have their origin in original sin, but we has human beings have perpetuated this condition as a matter of free will. This is why we are given then the Physical and Corporal Works of Mercy, in order to counter the effects of these evils in the world.

Saint James reminds us :

“So speak and so act as people who will be judged by the law of freedom.

For the judgment is merciless to one who has not shown mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.”

(James 2:12-13)

In our practice of mercy, it is most important to remember that we too are poor, and in great need of the Fathers mercy, as we have all sinned, and therefore, we need forgiveness, and mercy of the Father, and from our brothers and sisters. Knowing this to be true, we should be foremost in these acts, to soften our hearts, to love, as we have been loved.

May God give you the gift of His peace……. and mercy

The Theology of Technology

February 21, 2015

The Theology of Technology.
It has been for a number of years now the new practice for churches  that now broadcast their Masses/Services as part of their ministry.

One of the people I work with was discussing how it was that he was home on Sunday, because he wanted to see what the broadcast experience was like.  He went on to explain the ascetics of the program and how it was as far as the sound quality and the video feed.. etc.. He thought he liked it though and would not mind doing that again..

I offer this scenario in order to give us a chance to think about technology and its use in ministry particularly where it is used as a channel for worship.
In the realm of faith, no man is an island.  That is to say that no one can be a Christian by themselves.  You might think to yourself that well if I have faith in God and I believe in Jesus that this is enough..  There are a number of reasons why it is that this is not true.. Lets look at why this might be true.
Matthew 18:12 – Tells us about the parable of the lost sheep.  The parable talks about the one sheep of the fold where the Good Shepherd would leave the flock in search of the one lost sheep. Indeed this parable talks about the lost soul the one who has strayed off the path.  You can not be alone, and isolated from the body with no connection to the Church , the Body of Christ if you are not there to be part of the body, or you have no connection there.

In Matthew 18: 15 Is the discussion on brother correction when someone in the Body of Christ has done something wrong.  I basically tells us to go and confront (admonish) our brother or sister in charity.  If that does not work, then bring two or three from the church as witnesses and to testify, and finally if that does not work to take them before the body of the Church.

If you are alone, if there is no one there , if there is no “Body ” or community that you belong to then there is no way for you to engage in this process.

Many of our protestant brethren, wave the flag of Sola Scriptura.. ( By Scripture Alone).  Even in this view ( whose discussion we will leave out for the time being), Every person of faith should understand that scripture, although indeed is the Word of God, needs The Body of Christ, the church to assist in understanding, interpreting, and indeed, to reflect on , with and through.  To read, and hear, and reflect on these things over and over again. For those who attend church, and yes you do hear the same stories over and over again if you are there over the years, however, we understand that indeed, the words you hear are familiar.  The effect, the translation, the reflection, and the meanings are different for each person because at each hearing you are at a different place in your life.  You are living each moment anew in Christ Jesus.  The cross you carry today is NOT the cross you were carrying last year, or last month.  Possibly one of the particular crosses are the same but the circumstances of your life
are different.  These minor changes, these facets of your life are what cause you, if your heart is open in faith, to see a different facet of that scripture, or passage, or teaching, to be seen in a new light.  But you wont see it, won’t hear it, and won’t have brothers and sisters to reflect on that with if you are not there and connected to the body of Christ.

If your struggling with some part of your life and you believe that you are called to come change in your vocation, your life’s work or just some other part of your life..  We understand that vocation is something that is planted in the brother or sister , and is confirmed through the church.  Here again if you are not connected to the Body of Christ, the community, then there would be no confirmation and no completion.  Think of it this way.. We all have had that friend who sings … They think they are really good.. and have decided that they are going to be the next Pavarotti or Etta James or whoever their favorite singer is.
In truth they are tone deaf, and couldn’t find the pitch they were aiming for if you taped it to their foreheads..
If there is no one to tell them then possibly they will struggle through life, endure much pain and sacrifice and all for nothing.
There needs to be a connection to the Body of Christ to see clearly.

I want to take a moment and look at another side of the coin.  Technology for the sake of worship has decided benefits as well when used in the correct way.  There are those who are infirmed and homebound due to illness and circumstance.  In this case,
a broadcasted Mass and or worship is a blessing, but it is only one part of the larger puzzle.  It is also incumbent on the Church, the body of believers to make a way to reach out to those brothers and sisters that they know about and visit with them and help them, for such is part of the varied Works of Mercy.    In this way, they have connection to the body of Christ, they have access to community and do not experience isolation or feelings of disconnected-ness.

The presence of God occurs in church in three ways,  He is present in the community of believers.  YOu have to be present to be there yourself to experience that presence.  The second way is the Word of God, the Word,is fulfilled in its hearing.  You have to hear it to experience it.  Finally God is truly present in the Eucharist.  You can not experience and be imbued with that presence, to a degree, if you’re not there.

Of you might say that is not true because I can take a spiritual communion, or I can hear the Word on television or broadcast. This is true.  However, you will not experience the fullness of the experience without community, without being there.

Finally, without being there you miss the opportunity to be witness, to be instruments, to be that which you receive.
Without having a community, you are not able to give of yourself.  You will have a brother or sister who is going through the same things you are going through, or have gone through.  How can you receive the insight, or receive the blessing of wisdom that God might want to provide for you, if you’re not there to receive it ?  If you’re not there to share your testimony about what God has done for you, then you can’t be that vessel of a blessing to others.   If you’re not there, then you are not fulfilling your duty in  fulfilling your works of mercy not only for the benefit of others but for the benefit of your own soul.

And so my dear brothers and sisters, I would admonish you to use the gift of technology prudently, and judiciously as a way to reach out to those who are homebound or isolated or as an outreach tool, but be on guard not to use it as a substitute for being in the community because the community is never complete with out you !

May God give you the gift of His peace !

Blessed Are The Merciful ( Beatitudes Part V )

November 8, 2014

Blessed are the merciful: for they will be shown mercy. (5:7)

Mercy as defined on state the following :

“compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power; compassion, pity, or benevolence.”
That is a good place to start, however it is much more.. and for those of faith it is much deeper, and more complex.  Mercy is not a state of being or a define parameter of some sort. Mercy, or the growth of capacity for it, is one of the by products of our growth in faith.

An examination of our capacity for mercy, also causes us to reflect on our faith, on many fronts.  The mercy of God, who loves us and sent Jesus who came into the world not because of sin, but instead because of love.  He came into the world and within the greatest of acts of mercy died for each of us.

In the same breath he wants us to love one another as he has loved us.  He wants us to forgive others the same way He forgave us.  Of course, the problem is that we can not really, we can strive towards that unattainable goal since he gave the greatest act of mercy, it can not be equalled or topped, however, in love we can forgive, we can share mercy with others.
God grants us mercy in our days, In his redemption, in our second chances, in our sickness.  He is merciful in all our daily lives.

Then there is the mercy shown between people.
The mercy and forgiveness we share with each other when we fail.  The differences in this type of mercy and the mercy we get from God is that the mercy we show to each other is shared.. The mercy we get from God is poured out upon us in abundance. Even when we fail, suffering from our human natures to to show mercy to each other God is still ever merciful, out of love and by example for us all.

The more we examine our lives and our faith, the more we examine our own failings in sharing mercy with others, it creates a larger capacity, it creates an opportunity to reach into the well of mercy shared with us, and provides opportunities for each of us to grow.
May God give you the gift of His peace ( and mercy) !


Blessed are Those Who Thirst for Righteousness (Beatitudes part IV)

October 31, 2014
” Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they will be filled ” ( Matthew 5:6 )
What exactly is righteousness ? How does it apply ?   Glad you asked !
The dictionary says that righteousness means someone who is “Morally upright, without guilt or sin”
There is however a great deal more than this when we apply this definition to our faith life.
Paul, in Romans (10:3) talks about achieving righteousness through faith in the atonement made possible through the paschal mystery, the life, death and resurrection of Our Lord.  In ROmans 9:30, Paul preaches that the Jews had not received righteousness because they sought it not by faith but by works.
This is an important part and something that is confused by many.  The principle of “Sola Fides” – says that by fatih alone can you attain salvation.  This is a misunderstanding of the true meaning.  Instead you should understand that Our faith walks hand in hand with our works.  James 2:14 reminds us that ” Faith without works is dead.”.
You can do all the good works and acts of charity you want, and be loved by those of the world, but without faith, it will do you no good on the road to your salvation.  On the other hand, and where many find difficulty  is the idea that faith requires of us the work.  It is not just a requirement,  Our faith is what drives us to works of Mercy, charity, and love.
The growth in our faith lives becomes a natural outpouring of love and drives us to want to serve others through our works.
This is exactly why the Church teaches us about the Corporal and spiritual works of mercy.  Did you ever consider why there was a distinction between these two types of works ?  Its in the name !   One is all about the spiritual internal works, and the other is all about the external works  both driven by faith !
Now, lets turn for a moment back to the beginning and think about righteousness.  Are we  righteous ?  Are we without sin ?  Are we virutous or upright in all we do ?    At times it might be like asking of your a saint.
 There was a college professor I know who used to say, that ” The more you know, the less you know !”.  It is this way in our faith life as well.  It is simply impossible to know everything since only God knows everything.  However, where it applies to our faith, the more you know, sometimes the more you desire to know. The paradox is that on the road to salvation, that knowledge will not help you to a certain extent, because the simple person who has a simple basic faith may still be just as far on the road of salvation as you are.  Knowledge without faith falls into the same catagory as works; without faith it is dead.
The question is do we really thirst for righteousness ?
 Is there a deep burning desire to be truly good and virutous, moral upright and  holy people ?
Is it that kind of thirsting a basic, need for survival burning desire ?
In the end run, this one question can be a litmus test of where we are in our daily walk.
May God give you the gift of his peace !


Works of Mercy – Part I

September 27, 2014

Works of Mercy  – Part 1

The works of Mercy are tied to our obligations to love our neighbor as ourselves.
In Matthew 25:31 – We are told of the Judgement of the Nations, where all will be gathered at the end of time,
and will be gathered and in that time, the righteous will be separated from the others. Those who loved their neighbors will enter into Heaven while those who did not will be sent into the eternal fire.

In this passage we are told about caring for our neighbors. Based on these passages The Church teaches and reminds us of our duty and mission with both the “Corporal Works of Mercy” and the “SPiritual Works of Mercy”.

This week we are going to talk about the Corporal ( Bodily ) Works of Mercy.  Here is the list of those :

1.To feed the hungry.
2.To give drink to the thirsty.
3.To clothe the naked.
4.To Shelter the Homeless
5.To visit the sick.
6.To visit the imprisoned.
7.To bury the dead.

Lets look through this list and see what we have.

First is feeding the hungry.   Many stories abound of a time in the United States there was the “Great Depression” where
everything was in short supply, work for laborers was non-existant.  There are stories of people, who were poor who always had a way to add water to the pot and made things stretch to feed the strangers who came to their door.

Possibly you find that you do not have money to spare.  Possibly you believe that what you have to spare is not enough to make a difference.  My mother used to say things like “Charity begins at home.”  This could not be more true.
I never really got the point of this because it always came in the middle of my wanting to go off and do something other than what she wanted me to do.

In truth is means that we learn charity by serving others.  Those lessons of humility, poverty of spirit and love of neighbor begins in the home with our parents and siblings.  Taking those lessons out into the world is very relatable
to what we are charged with doing in our Churches.   We take what we have received , and share that with our brothers and sisters in the world.

Feeding the hungry literally includes food.  Not just own own family, but our neighbors in our city and in the far reaches of the world we have never been to.   When we were children our parents used to encourage us to eat what ever we had on our plates, because ” there were starving children in Biafra who do not have as much”, and we were not to waste anything.    Our responsibility to care for our brothers and sisters in foreign lands is not just an obligation for the government.   In the end of days there is no government who will stand before the Lord, just people.

The responsibility to feed the hungry, is also for those who hunger for companionship, for connection, for love ( in healthy ways ).  They hunger for peace, or possibly just a respite from the storms of life.

To give Drink to the thirsty. – Maybe you can see the homeless man on the street on a hot day. If you have water or the ability to get it, share that blessing with others who need it.  Water is one of the most basic needs of life.
Sometimes it is difficult to get to a place where water is available.  Possibly, the person might not feel like they are able or free to approach anyone in order to get the water they so desperately need.

Clothe the naked.  – They might not be truly naked, but they need clothes.. your clothing that might be used, might be in better condition than what your neighbor currently has and might serve the need. Many places have clothing collection locations that will take those clothes and launder and then give them to those in need, or possibly sell them to be used  to care for other needs.

Shelter the homeless – In every place in the world there are the homeless.  Either by necessity or by design, by circumstance or illness or need of many sorts the homeless are with us.  There is no reason that there should be homelessness, or hunger in our world aside from the inaction, omission, and greed that is the sin of humanity.
The worst part of homelessness is that it effects children. Children who made no choices, who suffer at the whims of circumstance.

VIsit the sick.   To visit someone in the hospitals and nursing homes whether or not you know them personally is a blessing to them and to you as well.   Hospitals and nursing homes apart from what ever need has them in those places,
are indeed places where those who are there, feel disconnected.  It is easy to feel as though the rest of the world goes on “out there” while you are stuck “in here” apart from the rest.    In todays world, where our jobs demand more of our time, our families, our outside obligations all demand more and more of our time.  It is hard to make the time to visit
these people.  How much of a blessing to them it is to have visitors.  It gives us the opportunity to bring Christ to them. To give them peace and comfort.

Visit the Imprisoned – This is a tough one.  to visit prisoners, those who have found themselves in a prison due to some bad choices they made.  Not everyone is able to bring themselves to do this.  Those people are hurt, damaged, in some cases lonely and in need.  You may be the only light that is there in a very dark place.

Bury the dead.  Many in our world die without money, and without having plans for their bodily death.  We have the need to bury the dead in a way that is respectful, that respects not only the person, and the family, but also in accordance with our faith.  Funerals give peace. They are a gathering of family, of friends.  It gives comfort, and hope for those who are left behind.    It gives those who are involved time to reflect and connect with God, with the Church, and with each other.

In considering all these works, we need to come face to face with our own weaknesses.. and our own fears.
We fear the sights, sounds or smells in a hospital. We fear for our own safety visiting prisoners,
We shy away from the homeless because they look ruff, and maybe the smell badly.   Do we hide our own prejudices within those fears ?  Do we think because they are in need that they are lazy, mentally ill, an addict ?
Maybe they just want the money for alcohol or drugs.

All of the challenges, our fears, our pre-concieved notions, those things we see with our human eyes are not new things.
In the days of Saint Francis there were lepers.  The lepers who were shunned by the rest of society, who either were in hospitals but mostly were in small communities who lived away from the rest of society.  Those who were afflicted with
the disease when someone else was coming close were to call out “Unclean!” and they would quickly leave.

Saint Francis, after his conversion found the courage to embrace one leper and overcome his fear.  The result was that he found that he could love his neighbor , the leper as Christ had loved him..   He found sweetness and joy in the moment.

If we can get beyond our own human failings, and embrace first the knowledge that we have our own faults that have kept us in the sins of omission, that we have have a conversion of heart, of faith that will allow us the blessing of spiritual growth, and allow us to love our neighbors.


May God give you the gift of His peace…

Holy and Righteous… ( Canticle of Zachariah 4/6 )

September 27, 2013

“This was the oath that He swore to our father Abraham:  To set us free from our enemies, free to worship Him, Holy and Righteous  in his sight all the days of our lives “.


The oath of Abraham ( then Abram ) began in Genesis 17.  Here God promises Abraham to give him a multitude of descendants even though both he and Sarah were both older.  THen in Genesis Ch 22, came the sacrifice where Abraham is tested with the sacrifice of his son Issac.   God again affirms his promise and add to that the promise that Abrahams’ descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies   THen in Ezekiel II God promises to take out their stony hearts and give them hears made of flesh, and give them a new spirit and they shall keep His laws.


In an earlier reflection we spent time reflecting on freedom, so we will not review that subject here.  Instead we ill look at the two other subjects contained in this section, Holiness, and Righteousness.

We know that everyone is called to holiness.  Jesus said to ” Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect” ( Matthew 5:8).  The Church teaches that we should devote ourselves to the work of perfection with all of our strength, devoting ourselves  to the Glory of God , and service to our neighbors, and holiness will be the fruit grown of this labor. ( CCC 2014).


OK, Bit hold on a moment.  Isn’t God alone holy ? If that is so, then how it it possible for us to be holy too ?  We find the answer to this question in Lumen Gentium Ch. 5 – God loves the Church as His bride, gave Himself up for her, so as to sanctify her.  The Church joined to Christ as the Body of Christ, endowed he with the gift of the Spirit for the glory of God.  God took the Church as his Bride, sanctified her and made her holy.. but why ?  Because God wants us to be holy and glorified.  In Romans 8:27 – The often quoted line ” All things work for good for those who love the Lord”  There is however, more.  Those who were called, were justified, and with the justified he shares His glory.


Ask yourself , if God loves us ( and he does), and he wants us to be justified and holy ( and He does), Why ?  God does not NEED us to be holy.  He could just require  is to obey and nothing else.  We could have been slaves !  God however loves us, and wants more for us.  For the same reason we have free will, for our own benefit, and so that we can grow in love and closer to Him.

The Church teaches a valuable lesson.  Holiness involves WORK !  Working and striving towards spiritual perfection , but also includes service to our neighbor.  So it’s not enough for us to spend the day praying if it is not accompanied with service to our fellow man.  This is why we have the Corporal Works of Mercy.

  • Feed the hungry
  • Give drink to the thirsty
  • Clothe the naked
  • Shelter the homeless
  • Visit the sick
  • Visit the imprisoned
  • Bury the dead

Mercy, Mercy, Mercy ( Canticle of Zachariah reflection 3/6 )

September 20, 2013

“He promised to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant”.


This portion of the canticle speaks to the listener of the time of  a covenant, but he never exactly says what that covenant is or what it means ?   THat is because the Jews would know exactly the covenant he was speaking of .  THis was the Davidic covenant.  The promise GOd made with David that the Savior , the messiah would be from his house or his lineage.  He could not have been speaking of John since Elizabeth from from the house of Aaron.


THis portion of the canticle speaks of the idea of covenant.  A covenant is more than just a promise, it is deeper, more abiding vow that is everlasting through its fulfillment.  One of the best examples we have on earth to this type of covenant is that of a Godly marriage.  It is that deep abiding , everlasting connection , relationship and vow.  God makes a covenant with David and fulfills his covenant with Jesus.  This was exciting  and gave the world reason to rejoice.  These visitations, that of Zachariah, and then of Mary , were reasons to rejoice and the visitation was from Gabriel the Angel direct from Gods throne room was confirmation of faith for Zachariah.    Zachariah was a Godly man, and he like all Jews were sitting and waiting for the coming of the Messiah.  There had been no interaction with his people and God for some time and then within this 5 month period there were 2 visitations by Gabriel proclaiming the coming of the Lord.


How often is it that we feel our struggles in daily life ?  They weigh in on us and may cause us to ask God where he is in all of this.  To make us feel like we are somehow alone in the dessert of our daily lives without any intervention or direction from God.  It might cause you to feel weary or full of despair.   Once the prayers are answered, or the situation passes it is easy to see where God was at work.


The  second part of this section deals with mercy.  THe bible is replete with examples of mercy but basically mercy comes in one of two varieties.  First, The mercy God shows to us , and then mercy of God we show to others.  You could say the second type of charity is the mercy we show to others, but this would be wrong. in the sense that the seeds of mercy come from God,  and since man has free will there is a choice to be made. That is made to show mercy to our brother and sisters or not.  The idea of , and the capacity for mercy comes from God, and is one of the spiritual fruits of charity and love.  The corporal works of mercy , feeding the hungry, visiting prisoners, caring for the sick, etc are acts of charity towards our brothers and sisters.  A well formed conscience knows that those acts and decisions are oriented towards God.  Mercy begins with God, and through man’s free will, finds its channel to others.

Through Seeing others in acts of mercy, much like the process of praying for our enemies, the person of faith who seeks to do God;s will though acts of mercy also finds that what begins as giving of ones self becomes a channel not only of love but also becomes a spiritual formation or education not only for the one who receives mercy, but for the one who extends Gods mercy and love.


God’s  greatest act of Mercy towards mankind as that of Jesus Christ.  The Life death and resurrection of Jesus perfect in his act of love and  mercy for mankind.  The interesting part of this is that , much like the mercy of God we show others is that in His human nature Jesus made the decision to follow the will of the father, to be the channel of God’s love for us.    Giving us yet another example of how to live.


The mercy her showed us in this paschal mystery, is now extended to us in the Eucharist.  In his love and mercy he comes to us in such a small form.  Our Lord, King of the universe humbles himself each and every day to be present in the smallest of tabernacles in his great mercy and love for us.