What is Mercy?
Updated: Jul 6
Reflection by Nicky Verna, M.A.
Mercy is a tired mother getting up for her crying infant without complaint for the third time. Mercy is a priestly shepherd who sits at the bedside of the dying to anoint and give absolution as soon as he receives a call. Mercy is a friend who listens with a loving ear when all he really wants to do is shout from the rooftops in frustration. Mercy is a teacher who builds up a student through patience, kindness, and attention to help him fully understand the answer, even though it has already been explained many times. Above all, mercy is the innocent Jesus hanging from the Cross of our sins, Who never cries out in accusation to the ones—you and me—who put Him there.
Some great saint said it; however, don’t ask me who, that if the nails in His hands and feet had not kept Him on the Cross, His love for us would have done so. How are we extending the mercy shown to us by Jesus to each another? Do we extend mercy to the one who cut us off on the Blue Route, the one who has a disregard for the dignity of human life, and the one who never seems to behave as expected? How are we at extending our mercy to those who, in our eyes, are undeserving? Was I deserving of mercy when my sins nailed Him to the Cross? Was I worthy of mercy when Jesus gave Mary to me as my Mother? Was I deserving of mercy when I refused to open my heart fully in the confessional? Was I worthy of mercy when I could have, should have, and did not?
The Divine Mercy of Christ is not given to us to make us feel ashamed or to be received and then only to crawl back into our dark, safe hole where we are comfortable and at home. The mercy of Christ is extended to each of us to bring us into the light— the light of transformation which we cannot find or attain all on our own. It is only through His mercy that we are able to BE in this world at all. If it were not for His mercy, endless, unfathomable, and beyond our comprehension, we would continue to live in the darkness of sin, corruption, and despair. We would be without hope and life because only through this mercy can we even begin to call ourselves a brother or sister of Christ and the adopted sons and daughters of The Heavenly Father. We will never be worthy of the gift given to us in the form of Christ’s mercy.
If we could only begin to understand the depth of His mercy and then start to live out this call to mercy for each of our brothers and sisters, it would transform our world into a place that we would not recognize. It would be a place filled only with light, love, compassion, strength, and all the attributes of God, to which each of us is called to live. We would see a world filled with those who have risen to the challenges of this life—His saints. We would see a world filled with those who have lived out the call to be all that we could be—His disciples. It would be a world filled with the fullness of the love of Christ and overflowing with milk and honey. It would honestly be heaven on earth! Come, let us begin!