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Invitation to a personal reflection on mercy

Candle-flame-and-reflection2By Jude Magers and Sister Nancy Bartasavich

“Throughout the history of humanity, God will always be the One who is present, close, provident, holy, and merciful.” (Pope Francis: “The Name of God is Mercy”)

“You ought to take a reasonable care of yourselves, so as to preserve a life which is entirely devoted to God and to the souls [God] loves so much.” (Mother Theodore Guerin, May 20, 1855, “Journals and Letters”)

Our lives are a journey of relationship. We engage with all God’s creation in its many forms and expressions. Along the way, we experience conflict, disharmony, dissonance and violence. God’s grace to mercy moves us forward.

We invite you to consider the meaning of mercy, for yourself and for others, in the following.

Reflection

Go to your preferred place of prayer. Spend some quiet time with the questions below. Let yourself relax. Know that God’s Spirit of love and mercy holds you close in this moment. During this time, we invite you to journal, draw pictures of your thoughts about mercy, write poetry, compose a song or simply sit quietly and listen to God within.

  • What is my understanding of mercy? What is its source? How is it channeled? Who is it for?
  • Recall a time when you experienced or received mercy. What made it possible to receive mercy?
  • What is needed from me to be merciful?
  • What helps me to be merciful day in and day out?
  • What is it about mercy that enables me to be grateful?
  • When ready, give all your thoughts, insights and creative responses to God to hold in Love.

Prayer: Let us unite with other readers of HOPE, who, having reflected upon the grace of mercy, give praise to God who is abundantly merciful.

Closing Reflective Thought: “Mercy takes us outside ourselves. It makes us one with the rest of the world. Or as Martin Luther King, Jr., reminds us, ‘The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was, ‘If I stop to help this [person], what will happen to me?’ But the Good Samaritan reversed the question. He said: ‘If I don’t stop to help this [person], what will happen to him?’” (from Joan Chittister, “God’s Tender Mercy: Reflections on Forgiveness”)

Additional resources for reflection and prayer:

Pope Francis, “The Name of God is Mercy: A conversation With Andrea Tornielli” (2016).

Nan C. Merrill, Psalm 29. p. 48. “Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness” (2007).

Words and Music by Amanda McBroom: “The Rose” (1977).

Scripture: Luke 8:42-48; Luke 10:29-37; Matthew 18:22; John 21:15; Psalm 51; Psalm 139.

(Originally published in the Spring 2016 issue of HOPE magazine.)

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Jude Magers

Providence Associate Jude Magers is retired after 45 years in Catholic health care with experience in oncology and hospice nursing practice, nursing administration, organizational development, mission integration and medical ethics. She holds Master Degrees in Nursing Administration and Pastoral Theology.

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