Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Divine Mercy

This year has been all about mercy.  I mean it was declared the Year of Mercy by the Pope, there was a book on Divine Mercy that two lovely ladies put out that is a must read that I got a chance to check out earlier this year. And then there was the constant reminders whether in penance or spiritual direction to carry out mercy. That hasn't been a bad thing either. Mercy is an awesome thing. So when Divine Mercy Sunday came around and a friend recommended seeing the film The Original Image of Divine Mercy, I have it a second thought and ultimately went for it dragging my husband along to see it.  The history in the movie was really good, the subtitling could use some spell check and we could have done without the celebrities or at least let them really speak, but overall it was a good story to watch. I especially liked that you could see how in it Jesus and his mercy could not die, despite human efforts to do so, the hope of Jesus lived on even if by a small number of people.  That was a pretty powerful thing to watch. 

The whole time I was watching the movie, in the back of my mind I was contemplating what divine mercy really was. You see, I struggle with things like pure definitions and hardly ever accept them as is.  I mean I've spent hours trying to understand grace, I think I have it to something I understand, but I still think about it at times. Mercy is no different.  I think partially it may be because of my upbringing and there being different vocabulary for things.  I began to think about why mercy is so hard for my head to wrap around, and I came to conclude that its because its so vast, and while we carry out our little part, God's part in it so big it maybe isn't something we can put in words. In my feeble words it would be to be forgiven when we don't deserve it. Perhaps a free pass. 

And then it made contemplate what this would be in my upbringing, my protestant one.  Because while not having divine mercy, the all encompassing thing, there is a sense of mercy.  And to me that would come in when a person has that first come to Jesus moment, because there is that belief that once Jesus comes in to your life that all your sins are forgiven. So in turn this would for sure be a moment of mercy.  The difference then between Catholic theology and the protestant theology is that for Catholics, this isn't a one time deal.  We at least should recognize that we are in constant need of God's mercy, because we are that much infiltrated by our human weaknesses that causes us to screw up and sin. 

So its not that protestants don't have mercy in their vocabulary, they do.  Its just that its viewed differently.  And I think one of the really appealing things to me about Catholicism and perhaps one of there reasons it makes people feel uncomfortable, is that we understand that it is a constant battle between grace and pride. And that when that pride wins we need to run to the arms of Jesus over and over to receive that mercy and start anew. I remember in converting that protestants were worried about me becoming a bad Christian in being Catholic, and to that I say if relying on and recognizing the need of God's infinite mercy is being a bad Christian, then I am guilty.