"Mercy..." "...Mercy…" and still more "Mercy," is the word we are hearing again and again from Pope Francis. Our, Pastor of Pastors, is in reality just reminding us, and I am in the need of being constantly reminded of a gift that is always being offered. We must also be cognizant of the fact that 75% of the parables of Rabbi Jesus were about the mercy and compassion of God. Jesus, Who became The Christ, is seen as the enfleshment of the mercy of God. We are all in the constant need of "the medicine of mercy." Thanks to our Prodigal Father-God it is always made available to us. All that needs to be done is ask for mercy, and forgiveness, and it is ours. We can use the words put into the mouth of the publican by Jesus," Lord, God be merciful to me a sinner." We also have in our spiritual heritage, The Jesus prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, be merciful to me, a sinner." Our Pope encourages us to keep asking for forgiveness. Why is he so encouraging us? Simply because our Prodigal loves to forgive. So then let God do what God does best. The "best of God," meets the worst of us and in this encounter a new reality is created through the action of creative love. We are required to reverence this new reality that has resulted from the encounter of opposites. We can never understand the miracle of grace, only gaze in awe-full wonder as we are drawn into a new, and unimaginable reality. This is God's deepest wish: "I will, not the death of the sinner, rather that he be converted and live." Let us then, just have the desire for this miracle of grace to happen and in the depths of our being, a new creation will take root. It is only in Kairos time, God's time, will we become aware, ever so slowly of this new life now breaking through. The image of a wondrous flower breaking through the brown earth, in a very out of the way place, comes to mind. It will not have much of an impact on the world but to our world an inexhaustible source of joy has entered.
That word "converted," from which we have, "conversion," is a great word. It means to turn around and go in the opposite direction. It also involves a new way of seeing. To be converted then is to admit, to own the fact that we are going in the wrong direction and seeing in a spiritual unhealthy manner. We need then a new way of seeing, leading to a new way of being. This is not easy. It is tough to go through a conversion. Yet on this hike/ journey we have to be converted again and again. Always changing, always seeing anew, and never ending. This can only happen under the guidance of The Creative Loving Spirit. Since the spirit is invisible, we will not be able, with the naked eye, to actually see the process that is taking place. May I be so bold as to suggest a new understanding of mercy is essential for an ever evolving healthy spirituality. This will lead to the freedom envisioned by God for you and me.