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Monday, June 14, 2010

Mercy and Faith

Our Catholic Faith has many facets - like a beautiful diamond worn by a bride - there are just so many glistening surfaces, all of which reflect the light of the Risen Christ and all of which tie very closely together. In parochial school I recall being taught many of these impenetrable facets by the good Sisters of St. Joseph. I remember learning that Jesus Christ lives in us; that Jesus can be found in others, especially in those who suffer and are poor. As I grew older and began to think in a more analytical fashion, this facet of my Faith, our Faith, began to make little sense to me.

In his letter to the Church in Galatia, St. Paul writes that in Baptism we have been crucified with Christ; we died with Him. Now Christ Jesus literally lives in us. In addition, St. Paul writes that we are made just, not by our works, but by Faith. This is how Jesus lives in us: by Faith. We believe in Him, which is to say that, without tangible, scientific proof, we understand Him to be the very person of God, Who with the Father and the Holy Spirit, eternally lives as One God. It is this Faith that will save us. However, if that Faith is real, it will exhibit itself in actions which are of God. We will come to live a life that is truly Christ-like.

If we study the Gospels we quickly learn that for Jesus, the greater the sin, the more tremendous is the mercy. As we come to know Jesus, we learn forgiveness. If indeed Jesus lives in us, then forgiveness will be one of the great fruits of our growth in Faith. People will experience mercy in us. When we pray alone or with others and every time we gather to celebrate Holy Mass, we pray with the exact words Jesus taught us, "...forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

If Jesus lives in us, we must be women and men, boy and girls of great mercy, be it in the schoolyard, on the beach, in the workplace, at the dinner table or behind the wheel. We live in an imperfect world and each of us, no matter our age, experience, intelligence, state in life, depth of holiness, all of us are imperfect. To forgive one another for small and great offences is to truly exhibit the Faith we profess. In this way, Christ Jesus lives in me, He lives in you.

At this very moment, our God is looking at us in a very tender way. God loves you beyond measure, despite all of your imperfections; despite all the sins of your past, my past. In the Sacrament of Penance the Lord Jesus continually offers the invitation to mercy, merely for the asking.

And He, Who lives in us, asks only that we try and do the same.

Fr. Robert Reed, Director CatholicTV

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