Do we forgive others?
Do we really renounce our requirement of retribution, of revenge? Or do we hold onto hurt for fear if we don’t, evil somehow triumphs? If we really know Christ is perfect justice, perfect peace and perfect mercy, we must imitate him by practicing the deliberate sacrificial work of justice, the humility of seeking peace, and the kindness of divine mercy. We live in a society that holds to the reality, that some things cannot be forgiven. Everyone holds onto some pain. As hard as the evil is that we as a world throughout history, and as individuals, have dished up, it is demonic to desire others remain forever unforgiven.
Divine Mercy Sunday reminds us, God desires us to love as God loves, to forgive as God forgives, and to forebear as God forebears. Plunging into mercy requires meditating on the reality of Good Friday, and making that final act of Our Lord, the filter through which we view and respond to all relationships, past and present. “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” comes from the cross, from having been betrayed, arrested, denied, abandoned, falsely accused, falsely convicted, stripped, beaten, mocked, tortured, nailed, pierced, and killed. Mercy is offered to all who seek it: for the betrayer, if the betrayer seeks it, for the denier, those who arrested, who abandoned, who accused, who convicted, who hurt, who laughed at, who ignored, who murdered.
The very nature of mercy is grace, forbearance, and almost incomprehensible to the world.
It only makes sense in a world created out of love for love by the one who is love, and for whom, love is the only response. There is no wound God cannot forgive if the person seeks forgiveness. So this week, as we approach Divine Mercy Sunday, make a list of all those who have wounded you, and pray to God to bless them. Pray for them. Pray for their healing. Pray for the grace to forgive them if that remains a struggle, or the grace to will to forgive them if even that seems too hard.
Next, make a list of all those you know, you’ve wounded. Pray for them. Pray for them to be blessed, and where possible, seek their forgiveness. Make an offering where you’ve done injury. Ask God to help you seek mercy, and to pour it out over the course of this week. Get to confession if you have not been recently, and if possible, participate in the remaining days of the Divine Mercy Novena.
Don’t worry if you haven’t done all the days or don’t get to all the prayers. God does not pour out grace because we participate perfectly, He perfects us through the process as our hearts grow more willing. If Lent or Easter somehow felt like you fell short, begin again. God is always waiting for us to turn towards Him. It is the one thing we can do to make our Lord’s heart joyful. It will also make your heart more full, more like His, and that in turn, will help the world to be more filled with His infinite mercy and love.
All we need to do, is be willing to get into the boat with Him. Christ does not promise a journey without struggle or pain or suffering or even death, but He does promise to accompany us in all things, and to always offer in every moment, His infinite heart of mercy. We just need to remember, that mercy always offered, is also ours we are called to offer always as well. Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday. Run to the tomb and spend some time, and you’ll find, your heart is full.