Learning To “Mercy” Is Like Learning To Walk

by | Apr 10, 2024 | Formation, Reflections | 0 comments

Do you remember learning to walk? Perhaps not. Yet, we were all once little children. Whenever we fell, we needed to be picked up and encouraged. Our mothers and fathers reached out and encouraged us to try walking again.

I recently read that Pope Francis uses mercy as a verb rather than a noun. He sees mercy as a verb describing how God ACTS in our lives.  Just as we learn to walk, we must learn to “mercy.”

There are so many images but none starker than washing our feet and telling us to “Do this in memory of me!”

An article made me think further.

Two parables about how God ACTS

A deeper dimension of the story of the Good Samaritan

Is the story just about who is my neighbor?

An allegorical interpretation is that the man who lies on the road is Adam, wounded (by sin), suffering outside the gates of Eden. The priest and the Levite (the law and the prophets) are unable to do anything for Adam.

Along comes the Good Samaritan (Christ), a foreigner, one not from here, who tends to Adam’s wounds, takes him to the inn (the Church), gives a down payment of two denarii, (the two commandments of love), leaves him in the inn (the Church) and promises to return for him (the second coming, when he will pay in full for the redemption and take him with him into his kingdom).

In this perspective

The parable is first and foremost not a story about how we should treat others, but rather the story of what Christ has done for us. … It is a retelling of the entire Gospel. The parable is an allegorical account of salvation history.

A lot to unpack!

Revisiting the story of the last judgment. (Mt 25)

“This parable is striking in that everyone is surprised by the judgment.

The sheep never realized that in feeding the hungry, they were feeding the king; unfortunately, the goats never realized that by not visiting the sick, they were not visiting the Lord.

… we will be judged by whether we practiced mercy and we will not be excused if we did not know to practice it.

Thus, like Matthew’s goats, the rich man in Luke 6 learns this ‘moral’ in Hades; he never showed mercy to poor Lazarus begging at his gate.

The practice of mercy is the measure of our judgment.

No wonder Pope Francis writes “There is no Christianity without mercy.  If all our Christianity does not lead us to mercy, we are on the wrong path

We learn to act with mercy from our experience of God “mercying” us.

“Confession is the Sacrament of resurrection, pure mercy.”

Forgiveness in the Holy Spirit is the Easter gift that enables our interior resurrection (walking again!)

Let us ask for the grace to accept that gift, to embrace the Sacrament of forgivenessAnd to understand that Confession is not about ourselves and our sins, but about God and God’s mercy. Let us not confess to abase ourselves, but to be raised up.

We, all of us, need this badly. Like little children who, whenever they fall, need to be picked up by their fathers, we need this. …  The hand of our Father is ready to set us on our feet again and to make us keep walking.

That sure and trustworthy hand is Confession. Confession is the sacrament that lifts us up; it does not leave us on the ground

The peace of Jesus awakens mission! Another word for “paying it (mercy) forward.”

“Do you want proof that God has touched your life? See if you can stoop to bind the wounds of others.”

Originally posted on Vincentian Mindwalk



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