Hillary Ibarra reflects on the beautiful benefits of human mercy and Divine Mercy and prays we can all trust in God’s Mercy more.
I believe the two most outstanding qualities of God’s nature are love and mercy. How many tax collectors and prostitutes were drawn to Jesus in the Gospels as a font of everlasting love in a cruel, judgmental world? How many approached His mercy with faith and were healed?
As human beings we forgive—please help us forgive, Lord—because we recognize ourselves as sinners, aware of our own many failings and the ways in which we harm others. Thus, we have mercy because we seek it in return. If we ever feel that we are better than the rest of humanity, better than our brothers and sisters, and condemn our fellow human beings, we condemn ourselves, too. So we forgive as Jesus taught, sometimes quickly and sometimes in a long process taking years in which we ask Jesus for help. Forgiving does not mean exposing ourselves to harm by others again. No. Forgiving means clasping the hand of God and walking in His love and mercy, escaping the darkness of hate.
God’s mercy is radically different from our own, as different as His ways are from our ways and His thoughts from our thoughts. Instead of mercy seeking mercy, offered with imperfect compassion, His mercy is a pure gift of His Divine Nature pouring out from the One Who is Love.
I think we doubt God’s great mercy because we have seen our own and others’ mercy fail. We have experienced the crippling struggle to forgive ourselves or others for the wrong that we have done. When we doubt God’s mercy, we must remember His Son on the cross, arms outstretched to draw all humanity to Himself, bleeding to bathe us in His love and mercy: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life.” To embrace God’s Mercy, we embrace Christ on the cross as Christ embraced His cross.
I often wonder, how could we cope without Christ? Without Christ, human suffering would be a large, meaningless, indiscriminate sword of human experience, something to stake our hearts to the tree of forbidden fruit which only bears despair.
But with Christ, human suffering, strong and unbendable as it is, becomes like the nails that held our Lord to the tree, instruments of pain that miraculously, united to Jesus, become instruments of redemption, bearing mercy and love.
Now we understand how God can bring good from our suffering as He did from His Son’s suffering.
In this Easter Season as we feast and celebrate and share the Good News and forgive and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I pray we offer mercy more freely to our neighbors, and I pray we trust in God’s love and mercy, that we embrace it with thankfulness. May we have the same faith In God’s Mercy as that of the tax collectors and prostitutes and of the Centurion in the Gospels when we say to Jesus during Mass, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word, and my soul shall be healed.”
Copyright 2022 Hillary Ibarra
About the Author
Hillary Ibarra is a happy wife and mother of four. She is the author of The Christmas List, based on the miracle of one childhood Christmas Eve, and is a freelance humor writer and copywriter. Jesus, her family, playing guitar, admiring trees, and baking bring her joy. You can learn more about her on HillaryIbarra.com and at Faith and Humor by Hillary Ibarra on Facebook.