Blest are the merciful

The Holy Year of Mercy will soon come to a close. What have you learned this past year about mercy? My hope is that it has made you more aware of God’s infinite mercy and love for us all and that you will continue to be mercy to all people. But how do you make yourself more aware of what God truly wants for you? 

We need to live in the present moment. Our minds are so cluttered with things of the past and of things yet to come. The past is gone and God is already preparing for tomorrow. Let today be your only concern. That’s how we become more aware. Sometimes we need a reboot of our lives to get rid of all those nasty bugs and viruses that prohibit us from seeing God’s intended goodness for us! His will for us is for good alone. Once we understand that, then we can truly experience mercy.

Remember Jesus’ words in the Lord’s Prayer: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

The thousands of young people who attended World Youth Day in Poland this past summer are very well aware of this gift. They accepted it and they even sang about it. Read the words to the World Youth Day theme song, “Blest Are The Merciful”:

I lift my eyes to the mountains; from where shall help come to me?
My help will come from the Lord, my God, for He is merciful!
When we are lost, He searches for us, to hold us in His arms.
His Holy Blood will heal our wounds, to breath new life into us!

Unless the Lord forgives when we fall, we wouldn’t be able to stand.
But He forgives, He pardons us all.
Let us do the same!

God paid our debts with the Blood of His Son,
Who rose alive from the tomb.

The Spirit within cries out to the world: 
Jesus is the Lord!
So cast aside your fear and have faith, give your cares to the Lord
And trust in Him, for He has Risen:

The Lord, your God, is alive!
Blest are the merciful.
For it is mercy that shall be shown to those who show mercy.

There are so many things that can get in the way of being merciful. Anxiety and worry are two of them. When your heart and mind are preoccupied with things like, “Did I study enough for the big test? Did my friend really mean that? Why can’t I make my parents understand?” there is no room for mercy. Anxiety and worry make you afraid. You cannot live mercy or be mercy when you are afraid. You do have a choice, and it’s a choice you will face many times a day. So, you must choose to trust in God or choose to keep on worrying.

If you choose to trust God, He will trade your fear for His peace. Every time you choose God over worry, He will give you even more peace. You’ll never run out of things to worry about. That’s a fact of life. But, it’s a good thing that God will never run out of peace. And isn’t that the result of forgiving and accepting forgiveness? Peace!

Francis Cardinal George once said, “There are times in a person’s life when forgiveness may seem impossible. Forgiveness is a personal decision to go against the natural instinct to pay back evil with evil. It goes beyond pardon to the giving up of resentment. The offer to forgive is necessary for healing and peace; the preaching of forgiveness, from God and for one another, is central to the Church’s mission in the world. 

“From the cross, Jesus shows us the conditions which enable us to forgive. To the hatred with which His persecutors nailed Him to the cross, Jesus responds by praying for them. He not only forgives them, He continues to love them, to want their good, to intercede for them. Only forgiveness from the heart can release us from our own hurts and misery and free us to share Christ’s gifts with others.” 

Mercy is love; don’t be afraid to show it. Mercy is peace; don’t be afraid to live it. Mercy is trusting in God; don’t be afraid to try it. Blest are the merciful. 

God bless!

Anchor columnist Ozzie Pacheco is Faith Formation director at Santo Christo Parish, Fall River.

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