Lord Have Mercy

If God could be reduced to or summarized by one word (besides love), it might very well be: mercy. God is abounding and endless mercy. We live in and by God’s mercy, which permeates our being, even when we are unaware of it. It is through mercy that we become aware of God and grow, albeit slowly, in the knowledge of God. Without mercy, God, for us, would certainly be dead. The prophet Hosea tells us that God desires mercy not sacrifice. The prophet Micah tells us that God requires us to love mercy. Muslims consider mercy to be one of the names of God. The very act of mercy creates a relationship between the giver and receiver of mercy, creating a commerce or exchange between the two. Mercy is born out of passionate love, not pity or simple goodness. Thomas Merton said mercy “is the power that binds one person to another, in a covenant of hearts.” Mercy is fundamental to life. God’s mercy is unconditional, unchanging and unending, and it is through mercy that God unites with us, and we unite with others. Mercy is essential and powerful beyond measure…it is the glue that holds life together. Episcopal priest Cynthia Bourgeault, in her book Mystical Hope: Trusting in the Mercy of God, writes: “Mercy is God’s innermost being turned outward to sustain the visible and created world in unbreakable love.”

Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

O God how I long for Your
radiant sweetness and abundant goodness
to overflow in my heart.
But I stand in the way
of such a Divine visitation.
My unruly behavior
withdraws the welcome mat
Your extravagant grace seeks.
A stone heart
is hard to enter.

Having felt Grace’s embrace
I long to feel it again.
Help me, Lord,
prepare my heart
to receive Her once more.
Peace and purity
are the welcome mat She seeks.

To be pure of heart
requires an undivided heart,
a heart fixed on You
and You alone.
A pure heart
beats with love
for the Other
and every other.
A pure heart
is unsullied
by pride, envy or lust.
A pure heart
only gives
and never takes.
A pure heart
is a humble heart.
A pure heart
is a peaceful heart,
a heart unruffled
by the ups and downs of life.

Peace and purity
are soul mates
living together
in the heavenly chamber
Your never-ending grace
creates within us
as we surrender
more and more of ourselves
to Your all-embracing Love.

Amma Sarra said, “If I prayed that everyone should approve my behavior, I would remain forever a penitent in front of everyone’s door. I do not pray for this. Instead, I ask God for a heart that is pure toward everyone.” Dear Jesus, your heart loves so deeply, while mine loves so weakly. Help me grow in love…of You and all whom I encounter. Help me know the sweetness of Your heart.


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