Can you hear those words delivered by John Stamos, aka Jesse Katsopolis? I can. In fact, it seems like everywhere I’ve turned these last months, I’ve heard and read “Have mercy.”
Maybe it’s me. Did you ever notice how once you discover something or purchase something, it’s everywhere, bringing on either affirmation or remorse? More than likely, nothing’s changed but you; you’re now attuned and alert to whatever it is. Maybe that’s what’s going on with me and mercy. Or maybe there’s something to this Jubilee Year of Mercy. Or maybe God’s trying to tell me something.
The older I grow, the more my personal justice scale tips toward mercy. I’d like to think it’s due to maturity. Perhaps wisdom. More than likely it’s that at midlife, my interest in mercy rather than justice has become personal.
Personalizing mercy is how, many years ago, I reconciled my opinions about capital punishment to the Church’s teaching (helped along by Pope St. John Paul II). When my earthly life ends, I’m a hundred percent certain it’s mercy I’ll be seeking, not justice.
I can’t say I took full advantage of Pope Francis’s gift of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which concludes on November 20. I came to it rather late, pushing myself to release Ornamental Graces during this special year. It’s only one of the books I’ve read recently in which mercy is a dominant theme. In the last month alone, I can think of three other mercy-themed books: The Wood’s Edge by Lori Benton; The Promise of Rayne by Nicole Deese; and the forthcoming ‘Tis the Season by Olivia Folmar Ard. Each of these books tackle forgiveness and mercy among family members and family. And, as in Ornamental Graces, being merciful with oneself.
I’ve also enjoyed a nonfiction book based on St. Faustina’s Divine Mercy devotion, Divine Mercy for Moms by Michele Faehnle and Emily Jaminet. This book is perfect for the busy mom trying to incorporate divine mercy into her life and that of her family’s by simple, do-able actions.
In a world in which we’re quick to judge, on the eve of a contentious presidential election, I think we could all use a little more mercy in our lives. The bumper sticker says, “If you want peace, work for justice,” but if you want mercy, show mercy. And seek it out.
How have your views on justice and mercy evolved over time?
How has the Jubilee Year of Mercy touched your life?
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