Saturday, March 13, 2010
Blessed Are The Merciful
God is a God of love, one who values love above any other virtue. St. Paul said that if he has all virtues and all powers and all good things, but does not have Charity, he has nothing at all. If God so values love, does it not follow that He would value mercy? God, the Almighty King of Heaven and Earth, forgives our sins by the Blood of His own Son and strives to receive us into His loving eternal embrace with a compassion unknown to man.
Even at our birth, though not guilty of great crimes, we are far from deserving any of the gifts which God has bestowed on us. As soon as we have reached the age of reason we are guilty of far more. Even the just man sins seven times per day. We do not know the extent of our faults, but we know that we have hurt and despised God's love many times and done very wicked things to hurt Him and His children. We have certainly disobeyed many, or all, of the laws given to us by Christ and resisted the guidance He has given us. Day by day He calls us to prayer, and as many times as He calls we refuse. But even in the face of this infidelity of His creatures God seeks only to bring them back to the embrace of His love.
If God were to punish each of our sins we would be beaten down and die from the very magnitude of our crimes, but God is a God of mercy and forgiveness. He knows that we are weak and ignorant, and unable to deserve this love which He longs to give us. For this reason, in the greatest act of mercy, He came down to earth and suffered and died for our sins, a complete and acceptable holocaust to God for the wickedness of men. If the God of all good has such mercy and forgiveness on each of us, if He is so loving that He caresses to His heart even the greatest of sinners at a single sign of repentance, then does it not follow that He would ask us to have mercy on our neighbor?
Jesus said "love, as I have loved you." That is, love wholly and completely all people, even the most wicked. If we imitate Christ in love as He has asked us to, then we would be willing to give our lives for those who have done us the greatest wrongs. If we love as Christ has asked us to, then we not only forgive, but love without restraint all who have done us wrong. In thus doing our hearts are free of hate and can receive the love and mercy of Christ. For how could He accept to His loving bosom one who has the black scars of hate in his heart? Is it not the greatest sign of hypocrisy to beg God's forgiveness and leave those who have offended us unforgiven?
But mercy extends even further than forgiveness. God has compassion on the least of men. Those who are poor and suffering and mourning move Him to pity. His love for them causes Him not only to have mercy, but to console them. When Jesus came to earth He was compassion personified, healing those who were ill with the greatest tenderness. Does it not follow that God would ask us to have pity on those who are suffering? To console our neighbor with the greatest love and care? To give to even great sinners the gentlest compassion?
"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." Truly, these words of Christ show how great is His loving nature. Listen to Him and, through your mercy to your neighbor, come to love Him with a pure heart.