An excerpt from the Spirit of Mary:
"Mercy is more than mere forgiveness. Mercy is a forgiveness that seeks the good of the other person. It is forgiveness that is based upon love and a desire to see the other person grow and change for the better. It does not punish the other person to make them pay for what they have done. Mercy is a forgiveness that seeks to help the offender change so that they will not do the same thing again in the future.
All mercy extends from God; in order to understand the concept of mercy more fully, we need to look to the Gospels to see instances where Jesus exhibited mercy. God sees who we are and loves us as we are. He loves us so much that He does not want us to stay where we are--He seeks to draw us closer and heal us with His love. As you read the gospels, notice who allows themselves to receive God’s mercy and who fails to recognize Jesus and accept the gift He offered."
Many of us have spent too much time withholding our forgiveness and failing to ask others for theirs as well. Hard conversations with messy emotions and tears are ones that we seek to avoid, not schedule. As I was growing up, I can remember having my feelings hurt by a friend and then carrying this pain with me like a badge of honor that I would not release. I was entitled to my bitterness and hard stares because she had betrayed me. I would hold onto my forgiveness as a hostage, talking about her behind her back and using my body language to passively punish her. I don’t know how many hours and pints of ice cream were spent trying to justify my inability to look her in the eye and accept her apology.
Equally as painful, was the time that I spent avoiding someone because I was entirely too proud to admit that I had done something wrong and hurt their feelings. I was unable to reach out and seek their mercy. Living with the tension and icy looks that I received caused knots to form in my stomach.
[T]he root of my issues with my friends was my failure to accept God’s mercy. We can waste so much emotional capital on our unwillingness to forgive. Once we recognize our own need for forgiveness, we open ourselves up to the grace that God wants to pour upon us. By accepting God’s mercy, we can’t help but become fountains of mercy ourselves.
This week, let us ponder the mercy of God and internalize His love. Mercy is not reserved for those who “deserve” it, it is extended to all. God’s mercy is what will heal our deep pain, allow us to shed some of our masks, and help us to enter into deeper relationships with those around us."
If you would like to learn more about Divine Mercy and listen to a talk by Father Michael Gaitley, MIC on the message of and devotion to the Divine Mercy of God, go to this website.