Category Archives: mercy

The medicine of mercy

Today, the Spouse of Christ prefers to use the medicine of mercy…
Pope Saint John XXIII

Today is the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the sign of God’s infinite mercy to us.

At times, mercy seems in short supply in our world – and even in our Church. It is easier to blame others for their failings and for the problems of the world than to see where God’s mercy has been poured out to us and where we can spread it.

Last night, reading the Vespers hymn for the feast in Benedictine Daily Prayer, I came across this stanza:

O Jesus, Savior of the world,
You gave Your life that we might live,
That we might show Your love divine
With those who have no love to give.

The love, the mercy of God, has been poured out on us so that we might share it.

As I am preparing for my diaconal ordination on July 15, I had to think about vestments. I had a stole made by the Tucson Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration and asked them to put this image that comes from Blessed Charles de Foucauld, which expresses my sense of calling – under the shadow of the Cross to show the mercy of the Heart of Christ Jesus.

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Lord, let your mercy surround me and all those I seek to serve here.

As Pope Francis wrote in the bull to introduce the year of the Jubilee of Mercy,  Misericordiae Vultus: The Face of Mercy (12):

The Church has the mission of announcing the mercy of God, the beating heart of the Gospel, which in its own way must penetrate the heart and mind of every person.

The merciful power of the Name

Put aside, I beg you, any name implying political power;
let there be no mention of vengeance, no mention of justice.
Give us the name of mercy.
St. Bernardine of Siena

 Today the church, especially the Franciscans and the Jesuits (the Company of Jesus), celebrate the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus.

In the fifteenth century, the Franciscan reformer, Bernardine of Siena, revived the devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. He popularized a medallion with IHS, the first three letters of the name of Jesus in Greek capital letters: ´ΙΗΣΟΥΣ.

The Jesuits also have a special devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus and their main church in Rome, the Gesù, bears the medallion over the main door.

Jesus

Names have power.

When you call out someone’s name, how often does that person turn around.

When someone gives you a nickname, how often does that in some way “define” you – for good or for ill.

In the first days of the Christian community, Peter healed the beggar at the temple gate “in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth” (Acts 3:6).

The name Jesus means “the Lord is salvation” – a reminder that we are not completely in charge, but also that God made flesh in Jesus is a God who reaches out to save in mercy.

And thus St. Bernardine’s admonition in this morning reading from the Office of Vigils makes a lot of sense.

The salvation of Jesus is not a political power – though it has political implications. Thus, politics must be put into context.

The salvation of Jesus is not vengeful; the God of Jesus is not a vengeful God, seeking recompense.

Nor is the salvation of Jesus mere justice – tit for tat. It is a manifestation of the deeper Justice of God which brings health and healing.

The salvation of Jesus is the salvation of mercy.

So today, I pray that the mercy of God may penetrate the hearts of all the world, especially political leaders and those who live by violence.

Mercy upon mercy…