Quotes for reflection:
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matt 5:7)
The Paschal Mystery – Jesus’ death and Resurrection – “bears within itself the most complete revelation of mercy, that is, of that love which is more powerful than death, more powerful than sin and every evil, the love which lifts man up when he falls into the abyss.” – St. John Paul II, Dives in Misericordia, no. 15
Breaking open the theme:
To know what mercy really is, we must look at Jesus. Mercy is more than simple kindness or forgiveness or being nice to people, although it can certainly be shown in those actions. The most perfect image of mercy, though, is Jesus’ willing sacrifice on the Cross and his triumph over death itself. Because Jesus defeated sin, we can be forgiven our own sins, no matter what. We can take confidence in Jesus’ promise that good will ultimately triumph over evil. That is the message of mercy!
For over twenty years, Michael had felt a gnawing guilt over his habit of watching pornography. He loved his wife, Janet, and furtively hid his pornography use from her. But one day – he knew it had to happen eventually – she found out. Janet felt deeply betrayed, and Michael felt almost unbearable shame. They both wondered whether their marriage would survive. Janet insisted that Michael seek out help, so he called their parish priest. In their first meeting, Michael let everything off his chest for the first time, all the years of hiding and guilt and sin. The priest responded with kindness and offered the Sacrament of Penance. Michael felt overcome with unworthiness but also for the first time felt hope that he could change. God’s mercy had never felt so real.
Put it into practice:
- Pray: Together with your spouse, pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet for your marriage and family.
- Reflect: What difference does it make to you to know that God’s mercy can forgive any sin and that his goodness triumphs over all evil? What would it be like if this weren’t true?
- Do: If you or your spouse is struggling with a major sin like pornography use, infidelity or something else damaging to your marriage, get help right away from a priest or trusted friend.
Prayer for married couples:
Almighty and eternal God,
You blessed the union of husband and wife
So that we might reflect the union of Christ with his Church:
look with kindness on us.
Renew our marriage covenant.
Increase your love in us,
and strengthen our bond of peace
so that, [with our children],
we may always rejoice in the gift of your blessing.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.