To Be Merciful We Have to Know Mercy
To be merciful, we have to know mercy, and we can experience the mercy of God in Jesus Christ. From the cross Jesus Christ said: "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34) I believe that many of the people that hurt us the most, do so without realizing the full impact of their action. We need to do like Christ and say: "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."
Pope John Paul II was an example of the mercy a human being can show. He forgave the man who tried to kill him.
Time Magazine front cover of January 9, 1984 read:
Why Forgive? The Pope Pardons the Gunman.- http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,952295,00.html
A pardon from the Pontiff, a lesson in forgiveness for a troubled world
… St. Peter's Square in May 1981. It shows Pope John Paul II in white robes, capsized backward on his seat, stricken, in a posture vaguely reminiscent of the Pietà. There is an adrenal burst of motion in the scene as the security men spring alive and the Pontiff's white Popemobile lurches off through the crowd.
Ordinarily, the spasm of savagery simply passes and recedes in time, an ugly, vivid memory. But last week, in an extraordinary moment of grace, the violence in St. Peter's Square was transformed. In a bare, white-walled cell in Rome's Rebibbia prison, John Paul tenderly held the hand that had held the gun that was meant to kill him (see cover). For 21 minutes, the Pope sat with his would-be assassin, Mehmet Ah Agca. The two talked softly. Once or twice, Agca laughed. The Pope forgave him for the shooting. At the end of the meeting, Agca either kissed the Pope's ring or pressed the Pope's hand to his forehead in a Muslim gesture of respect.
It was a startling drama of forgiveness and reconciliation. On one level, it was an intensely intimate transaction between two men. But if the Pope spoke in whispers, he also meant to proclaim a message to the world. The only other people in the cell with Agca and John Paul were the Pope's personal secretary, two security agents—and a Vatican photographer and television crew. The Roman Catholic Church for many centuries has used imagery—paintings, sculpture, architecture—to express its spiritual meanings. The Pope brought the photographer and the cameramen because he wanted the image in that cell to be shown around a world filled with nuclear arsenals and unforgiving hatreds, with hostile superpowers and smaller, implacable fanaticisms.
It is difficult to imagine a more perfect economy of drama. The Pope's deed spoke, not his words, and it spoke with the full authority of his mortal life and the danger to which Agca had subjected it. The meaning of John Paul's forgiveness was profoundly Christian. He embraced his enemy and pardoned him.
Excerpt from Morrow, Lance. "I Spoke... As a Brother" Time Magazine. January 9, 1984
How can we hope to be better? ...to do better?
Read Isaiah, chapters 1-5 , when he talks to Israel about repentance and change, washing and cleansing and forgiveness.
We need to learn more about the corporal and spiritual works of mercy and practice them. We can talk about exercise but doing it is what makes it beneficial, the same with the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, as we do them it becomes easier to do them.
See the following links for Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy
We experience the Divine Mercy of God Everyday
Let us join together with our communities to pray the novena of the Divine Mercy that begins on Holy Friday.
Internet Links to Divine Mercy - http://www.marian.org/divinemercy/
The Divine Mercy Devotion - http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/mercy/index.htm
I recommend you reading Pope John Paul's ENCYCLICAL LETTER DIVES IN MISERICORDIA - (http://www.vatican.va/edocs/ENG0215/_INDEX.HTM)
As we experience the mercy of God we are able to be truly merciful.
Marta Alves- LEAP OF FAITH - www.faithleap.org
God is Merciful
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