True Charity and Divine Mercy
Charity: The theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God. (CCC 1822)
I grew up with a younger sister whom I love very much, but she was a typical little sister who wanted to be near me and do what I was doing all the time. I found this extremely annoying and would, to my shame, say terrible and hurtful things to get her to leave me alone. She would run away in tears, wondering what she may have done for me to be so mean. After hearing these things, my dad would scold me and say, “Hannah, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”
He would explain to me that all my sister wanted to do was spend time with me because she loved me. Typically, I would oblige (probably muttering my objections under my breath), find her, and we would get along. She would always welcome me with a smile.
We live in troubled times. It’s difficult to watch young people without hope take their own lives; hearing about over 250 Christians losing their lives in a devastating attack after going to church for Easter; children are murdered brutally behind closed doors in abortion clinics. We look around and ask, where is God in all of this?
We were created out of love by love himself in order that we may in turn, love. But it’s hard to love in such a time. We may want to act out and protest, just as Peter did when he drew his sword and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his ear when Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane.
In the 1930s, Jesus appeared to a Polish nun and asked her to write down what he had to say. He delivered a message of Divine Mercy which reminded his creation to trust in him and his goodness. He tells us that we must allow love and mercy to flow through our heart into the world in preparation for his return:
“I am love and Mercy itself. There is no misery that could be a match for My mercy, neither will misery exhaust it, because as it is being granted – it increases. The soul that trusts in My mercy is most fortunate, because I Myself take care of it.” (1273)
No matter the bad that we encounter in this world, Christ is at the center of it, calling us not to hate and violence, but to love.
What good is love? Love doesn’t stop people from dying. Love doesn’t end wars; love is useless in the midst of our times.
“Be always merciful as I am merciful. Love everyone out of love for Me, even your greatest enemies, so that My mercy may be fully reflected in your heart.’” (1695)
The good news is that Christ is bigger than all of those troubles. No sin is too big for Christ. He proved that when he died on the cross. Even from the cross, he asked the Father to have mercy on those who crucified him. Through it, he saved us all from death.
Through times of trial, we may be tempted to go on a Twitter rage for the injustices of the world. We may be tempted to argue with those we are close to at the dinner table. We may be tempted to stop going to church. Some may even be tempted to take dramatic violent actions in retaliation for what they feel is unjust in the world.
But remember Christ on the cross. Remember his divine mercy and call to love.
Instead of going on a Twitter rage, start a chain reaction of good by volunteer your time, talent, and treasure to something you are passionate about. Instead of picking a fight with your loved ones, find a way to serve them. Instead of abandoning your faith, use it as an opportunity to cling tighter; growing in trust in the mercy of Jesus.
For me, I was a moody kid who wanted to be left alone. But through the intervention of my dad, I realized how much my sister loved me. Maybe a couple of days later, I would be mean again, but my dad would again patiently intervene and tell me again to be nice to my sister, because she loved me. And she would always welcome me back.
Although the world maybe like me in this story and is cruel and horrible, eventually, Christ will intervene and remind it how far it has strayed from the path of goodness and truth. Let us be like my sister and greet them with a smile and willingness to forgive. Let us live patiently and always be reminded to live mercy and love, just as Christ did on the cross.