Back in 2016 when Pope Francis called for an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy he said that we should be “dedicated to living out in our daily lives the mercy which the Father constantly extends to all of us.” Ever since then, I have been profoundly aware of how the word mercy appears repeatedly in my daily prayers and reflections, and how often the word mercy is said at Mass and found in Scripture. I find myself praying the Kyrie and Agnus Dei with greater fervor each day. I am fully aware of my need for mercy, and in response to Pope Francis, I see the need to extend that mercy to others.
Extending mercy to others may not come naturally but as a follower of Jesus I am called to show mercy. So, what does that look like and how can I be more merciful?
One way to show mercy is to be more patient with others. Merciful people take time to evaluate situations. It’s easy to quickly judge but merciful people are able to step back and remove themselves from first reactions…allowing room for the Spirit to work…allowing space and time for others.
Merciful people will not stop at just showing mercy. They will go further and do more. Imagine, if the next time someone makes a mistake you not only show mercy but you help them rise above and improve the situation, allowing them a second chance to improve and do better.
And, merciful people are bridge-builders. We all know people that are on the margins, those who struggle with relationships, those who just don’t seem to fit in. Merciful people will reach out to those people; helping them, nurturing them, and easing their burden. Think of it as an act of premeditated mercy, as a way to imitate the love of the merciful Father and truly make a difference.
Saint Benedict, in his Rule, admonishes us to never lose hope in God’s mercy. Benedict wants us to always trust in our loving and merciful God. Not only that, but he does not want us to lose hope in our ability to be merciful.
Thank you, Lord, for your mercy.
Help me find the courage and compassion to show mercy to others.