Monday of the Second Week in Lent

“Be kind; everyone you meet is facing a hard battle” is a popular quote from Scottish writer and theologian Ian Maclaren.  It is true that the strenuous and sometimes agonizing aspects of others’ lives escape us.  A little mercy goes a long way with them.  Where would any of us be, if not for the graciousness of countless people?  Nevertheless, human mercy alone is not enough.   Our situations ultimately cry out for the infinite Source of Mercy.  Today Jesus points us to this Source in His Father.  He urges us: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” It is as if Jesus wants God’s mercy to flow through us as constantly as does the blood in our veins.  Moreover, we must pour out this mercy as we receive it. “Forgive and you will be forgiven.”

The First Week of the Spiritual Exercises is meant to help us encounter the merciful Face of God.  St. Ignatius asks us to contemplate “Christ in this plight, nailed to the cross” and wonder, “how it is that though He is the Creator, He has stooped to become man, and to pass from eternal life to death here in time, that thus He might die for our sins.”  There is no greater manifestation of the Father’s mercy than this sight: our Lord giving His life for us.  Where do we need to let the Divine Mercy flow into our concrete situations?  Perhaps we need to further forgive someone, even ourselves.  Perhaps we need to be gentler or kinder.  By God’s grace, we will thereby help others to face and to brave their battles.

March 17th, 2014