Gift of Mercy

Recently wrote about forgiveness. I started out the column as a reflection on the readings for Advent sometime do not seem to fit the mood of Christmas coming. But then Advent is a time of waiting and reflecting; and to think about gift giving. Forgiveness is one of the great gifts you can give. The end of the post I mused: “What ‘Christmas gift’ comes along with this life of forgiveness? Lower blood pressure, restful night, sweet dreams, peace, no longer being a victim, uninterrupted prayer, a new experience of God’s love… and so much more. Your gift is waiting right there under the tree, the cross of Christ. Go ahead, open your gift. `Tis always the season.’” Continue reading

Gift of Mercy

In last week’s column I wrote about forgiveness. I started out the column as a reflection on the readings from Scripture for the first week of Advent, noting how the readings did not seem to fit the mood of Christmas coming. The column explained that they weren’t meant to be – it’s Advent, a time of waiting and reflecting despite what the commercial world of commerce would have you believe. But maybe the draw of Christmas is too powerful. The column sort of morphed itself into the idea of forgiveness as the gift you give. The end of the column said: “What ‘Christmas gift’ comes along with this life of forgiveness? Lower blood pressure, restful night, sweet dreams, peace, no longer being a victim, uninterrupted prayer, a new experience of God’s love… and so much more. Your gift is waiting right there under the tree, the cross of Christ. Go ahead, open your gift. `Tis always the season.’” Continue reading

Thinking about Mercy

jesus-divine-mercyPope Francis has declared a Jubilee Year of Mercy to begin on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception this December 8th . In Judaism and Christianity, the Jubilee is a special year of remission of sins, forgiving debts, and reconciling broken relationships. It is a year in which the people of God are asked to especially make manifest the mercy of God. So maybe, here at the beginning, it is a good time to think about the meaning of “mercy.”

Merriam-Webster offers that mercy is the “forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one’s power.” Sadly, that is the limit of how many understand God: the grim judge who is holding back power and punishment even though we deserve it. Such an understanding never gives any insight into the nature of God or his divine motivation or desire. But we do know about God’s desire – He desires that all be saved (1 Tim 2:4). And so the people of God have been reflecting on such things for a while. Continue reading

Being Merciful

Logo for Holy Year of MercyPope Francis has declared a Jubilee Year of Mercy to begin on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception this December 8th . In Judaism and Christianity, the Jubilee is a special year of remission of sins, forgiving debts, and reconciling broken relationships. It is a year in which the people of God are asked to especially make manifest the mercy of God. So maybe, here at the beginning, it is a good time to think about the meaning of “mercy.”

Merriam-Webster offers that mercy is the “forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one’s power.” Sadly, that is the limit of how many understand God: the grim judge who is holding back power and punishment even though we deserve it. Such an understanding never gives any insight into the nature of God or his divine motivation or desire. But we do know about God’s desire – He desires that all be saved (1 Tim 2:4). And so the people of God have been reflecting on such things for a while. Continue reading