Photo by Joe Grant © 2015

For you, Holy One, are good and merciful,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. 

-Psalm 86:5

Seeker,

In a world of constant jockeying for placement and position, where, with whom do you locate your life and choose to listen?

 

The Haitians say:

we see from where we stand.

So, how we stand, and with whom becomes critical.

 

By-standing is not the same as with-standing,

and understanding is the fruit

of more than standing still.

 

Standing humbly with others,

standing together under the rain of mercy,

is the surest pathway to understanding.

 

We might, for a while, stay safe in our heads,

protected by sureties, reaffirming opinions,

polishing personal perspectives on everything and everyone.

 

Sooner or later, bubbling up through the cracks,

mercy usurps personal preeminence,

exposing limitations, failings and weaknesses.

 

And, when our time comes, we all want mercy.

But first we must  pay the admission,

humbly stooping through the low doorway to forgiveness.

 

What was cruel has become merciful. What is now merciful was never cruel.

I have always overshadowed Jonas with My mercy and cruelty I know not at all.

Have you had sight of Me, Jonas my child? Mercy within mercy within mercy.

-Thomas Merton

 

This might be why mercy feels cruel.

Fractured by failure, deluded by disappointment,

we face pain, darkness, and chasms too deep.

 

Our calloused hearts chafe

at mercy’s unction,

as they soak and soften in such humbling grace.

 

Debilitated or dispirited

by burdens beyond us

we bend, and like the children we always are, we cry out.

 

No one can be excluded from the mercy of God; everyone knows the way to access it and the Church is the house that welcomes all and refuses no one. Its doors remain wide open, so that those who are touched by grace can find the certainty of forgiveness. The greater the sin, so much the greater must be the love….

-Pope Francis

 

When life breaks down,

love breaks out,

mercy over-sweeps us and we are worn permeable.

 

If this has not yet

happened to you,

mercy might be long overdue.

 

There are circumstances that must shatter you; and if you are not shattered, then you have not understood your circumstances. In such circumstances, it is a failure for your heart not to break… So there is only one thing to be done. Transformation must be met with transformation.

Where there was the old life, let there be new life. Do not persevere. Dignify the shock. Sink, so as to rise.

-Leon Weisseltier

 

Lord have mercy,

on the land, and on the air.

Christ have mercy, on creatures everywhere.

 

Lord have mercy on my sister, on my brother.

Christ have mercy on that strange

and most blessed sacrament of the other.

 

If today you hear God’s voice

from your core (with courage) live,

and welcome at last mercy that frees you to forgive.

 

joe