Be Merciful

By Jonathan Camiolo –

In 2000, Pope John Paul II made the surprise announcement in his homily at the canonization of St. Faustina that the Sunday following Easter each year would be an opportunity to celebrate “Divine Mercy Sunday”.  Sr. Faustina was a polish nun that spread the message of God’s divine mercy and the devotion to it.  She was made a saint and her devotion was made more known within our Church.

Part of the message Sr. Faustina shared from Jesus is: “I am giving you three ways of exercising mercy toward your neighbor: the first — by deed, the second — by word, the third — by prayer. In these three degrees is contained the fullness of mercy, and it is an unquestionable proof of love for Me. By this means a soul glorifies and pays reverence to My mercy.”

When we speak of God’s mercy, we refer to the fact that He loves us so much and is willing to forgive us anytime.  His mercy is endless.  His forgiveness is undeserved.  We cannot earn it, but we must simply ask God for forgiveness for our sins, selfishness and laziness and depend on His incredible love and mercy.   What better time of year can there be to remember this feast than the Easter season when we remember that Jesus died for us and has risen from the dead.

But that is not all!  Mercy does not end there.  The celebration of Divine Mercy challenges each of us to also be merciful.  We are to receive the mercy of God and to use it by being merciful to others through our actions, our words, and our prayers.  We have some great ways as Catholics to practice mercy – the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy.  The Lord wants us to do these works of mercy.

The Corporal Works of Mercy include feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, giving drink to the thirsty, sheltering the homeless, comforting the prisoners, burying the dead, and visiting those that are sick and homebound.  These are all ways to take care of the physical needs of those in need.  If we receive God’s mercy, we should share it with our brothers and sisters in God’s family.

The Spiritual Works of Mercy include teaching the ignorant, praying for the living and the dead, correcting those that are caught up in sin, counseling those that have doubts, consoling the sorrowful, forgiving others that have sinned against us and having patience with those that have wronged us.  These ways of showing mercy might be more of a challenge.  It may be easier to give someone food than it is to forgive someone that has hurt us.

This week, and throughout our lives, lets all make the effort to act with mercy.  With those that are close to us like our family and friends, but also with the stranger.  May we follow Jesus’ call to have mercy, so that He will have mercy on each of us at the end of our lives.  Let’s share the mercy that God has shared with us so freely.


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