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The wonderful gift


Despite the various evils in which mankind has entangled itself, God in His mercy gives us complete certainty of the forgiveness of all our sins. We need only to entrust ourselves and all our sins to Jesus in the sacrament of confession with the trustfulness of children.

The wonderful gift

Through forgiveness and pity, the Lord God demonstrates His omnipotence most fully. We should renew our delight in God’s mercy and live joyfully aware of how much God loves us. Pope Francis writes that we should “gaze even more attentively on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s action in our lives”. Jesus calls upon us to reject all sin, resentment, anger, revenge and violence, because only then can His love, which brings peace and happiness, dwell within us. We should accept God’s forgiving love and wholeheartedly forgive those who offend us. Taking the radical decision to separate ourselves from sin and to forgive all wrongs, injustices and insults is a commandment and also an expression of merciful love for every Christian, just as Jesus mentions in one of His beatitudes: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy” (Matt. 5:7).

“As we prepare to leave this life, we will be judged on the basis of love” (Saint John of the Cross)

That is where the greatest miracles are

Forgiveness of sins is the wonderful gift for all of us that the Lord Jesus grants in the sacrament of reconciliation. That is why this sacrament should be at the centre of our lives; in it we experience tangibly the vastness of God’s mercy. The chief causes of all human unhappiness and tragedy are from lingering in a state of mortal sin, failure to repent and closing oneself off from the gift of God’s forgiveness. Jesus desires to free all sinners from this state of spiritual death and slavery to the forces of evil, offering them his boundless mercy in the sacrament of penance. The source of the greatest joy is sincere confession, in which the Lord Jesus performs the amazing miracle that is the forgiveness of sins, leading the sinner away from slavery to the forces of evil and spiritual death to a full life in the freedom of a child of God.

Through forgiveness and pity, the Lord God demonstrates His omnipotence most fully

St Faustina, the Apostle of Divine Mercy, wrote in her Diary what Jesus said about the sacrament of reconciliation: “There the greatest miracles take place and [are] incessantly repeated. To avail oneself of this miracle, it is not necessary to go on a great pilgrimage or to carry out some extraordinary ceremony; it suffices to come with faith to the feet of My representative and to reveal to him one’s misery, and the miracle of Divine Mercy will be fully demonstrated. Were a soul like a decaying corpse so that from a human standpoint there would be no [hope of] restoration and everything would already be lost, it is not so with God. The miracle of Divine Mercy restores that soul in full. Oh, how miserable are those who do not take advantage of the miracle of God’s mercy! You will call out in vain, but it will be too late” (Diary 1448).

On another occasion, the Lord Jesus said: “When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I Myself act in your soul. Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy. Tell souls that from this fount of mercy souls draw graces solely with the vessel of trust. If their trust is great, there is no limit to My generosity. The torrents of grace inundate humble souls. The proud remain always in poverty and misery because My grace turns away from them to humble souls” (Diary 1602). “The flames of love are burning in Me. I desire to pour them out on human souls. Oh, what pain they cause me when they do not want to accept them […]. Tell aching mankind to snuggle close to My merciful heart, and I will fill it with peace. Tell [all people], My daughter that I am Love and Mercy itself. When a soul approaches Me with trust, I fill it with such an abundance of graces that it cannot contain them within itself, but radiates them to other souls” (Diary 1074).

The Lord Jesus assures us: “The soul that trusts in my mercy is most fortunate, because I Myself take care of it” (Diary 1273). At the same time the Lord Jesus calls us not to delay, but to trustingly accept the gift of His mercy: “Before I come as a just judge, I first open wide the door of my mercy. He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice” (Diary 1146). If a person disregards the gift of God’s mercy, if he refuses it, then he embarks on the road leading to eternal damnation.

“As we prepare to leave this life, we will be judged on the basis of love”

Pope Francis calls on us to practise mercy with great zeal with regard to our neighbours. “Let us rediscover”, the Holy Father exhorts us, “these corporal works of mercy: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead. And let us not forget the spiritual works of mercy: to counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish sinners, comfort the afflicted, forgive offences, bear patiently those who do us ill, and pray for the living and the dead.

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned” (Luke 6:37–38)

We cannot escape the Lord’s words to us, and they will serve as the criteria upon which we will be judged: whether we have fed the hungry and given drink to the thirsty, welcomed the stranger and clothed the naked, or spent time with the sick and those in prison (cf. Matt. 25:31–45). Moreover, we will be asked if we have helped others to escape the doubt that causes them to fall into despair and which is often a source of loneliness; if we have helped to overcome the ignorance in which millions of people live, especially children deprived of the necessary means to free them from the bonds of poverty; if we have been close to the lonely and afflicted; if we have forgiven those who have offended us and have rejected all forms of anger and hate that lead to violence; if we have had the kind of patience God shows, who is so patient with us; and if we have commended our brothers and sisters to the Lord in prayer. In each of these ‘little ones,’ Christ himself is present. His flesh becomes visible in the flesh of the tortured, the crushed, the scourged, the malnourished, and the exiled… to be acknowledged, touched, and cared for by us. Let us not forget the words of Saint John of the Cross: ‘as we prepare to leave this life, we will be judged on the basis of love’. May the words of the Apostle accompany us: he who does acts of mercy, let him do them with cheerfulness (cf. Rom. 12:8).”

The call to end corruption and criminal activities

In the papal bull Misericordiae vultus, Pope Francis called us to end corruption and criminal activities: “I particularly have in mind men and women belonging to criminal organizations of any kind. For their own good, I beg them to change their lives. I ask them this in the name of the Son of God who, though rejecting sin, never rejected the sinner. Do not fall into the terrible trap of thinking that life depends on money and that, in comparison with money, anything else is devoid of value or dignity. This is nothing but an illusion! We cannot take money with us into the life beyond. Money does not bring us happiness. Violence inflicted for the sake of amassing riches soaked in blood makes one neither powerful nor immortal. Everyone, sooner or later, will be subject to God’s judgment, from which no one can escape.

While showing us God’s mercy, Christ at the same time confronts us with a requirement that we should always order our lives based on love and mercy

The same invitation is extended to those who either perpetrate or participate in corruption. This festering wound is a grave sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance, because it threatens the very foundations of personal and social life. Corruption prevents us from looking to the future with hope, because its tyrannical greed shatters the plans of the weak and tramples upon the poorest of the poor. It is an evil that embeds itself into the actions of everyday life and spreads, causing great public scandal. Corruption is a sinful hardening of the heart that replaces God with the illusion that money is a form of power. It is a work of darkness, fed by suspicion and intrigue. Corruptio optimi pessima, Saint Gregory the Great said with good reason, affirming that no one can think himself immune from this temptation. If we want to drive it out from personal and social life, we need prudence, vigilance, loyalty, transparency, together with the courage to denounce any wrongdoing. If it is not combated openly, sooner or later everyone will become an accomplice to it, and it will end up destroying our very existence.

This is the opportune moment to change our lives! This is the time to allow our hearts to be touched! When faced with evil deeds, even in the face of serious crimes, it is the time to listen to the cry of innocent people who are deprived of their property, their dignity, their feelings, and even their very lives. To stick to the way of evil will only eave one deluded and sad. True life is something entirely different. God never tires of reaching out to us. He is always ready to listen, as I am too, along with my brother bishops and priests. All one needs to do is to accept the invitation to conversion and submit oneself to justice during this special time of mercy offered by the Church.”

Do not judge, and you will not be judged

Pope Francis reminds us that in order to live the truth of God’s mercy daily, we must never judge or condemn others. He cites the Lord Jesus: “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back” (Luke 6:37–38).

“When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I Myself act in your soul” (Diary 1602).

Pope Francis explains: “If anyone wishes to avoid God’s judgement, he should not make himself the judge of his brother or sister. Human beings, whenever they judge, look no farther than the surface, whereas the Father looks into the very depths of the soul. How much harm words do when they are motivated by feelings of jealousy and envy! To speak ill of others puts them in a bad light, undermines their reputation and leaves them prey to the whims of gossip. To refrain from judgement and condemnation means, in a positive sense, to know how to accept the good in every person and to spare him any suffering that might be caused by our partial judgment, our presumption to know everything about him. But this is still not sufficient to express mercy. Jesus asks us also to forgive and to give. To be instruments of mercy because it was we who first received mercy from God. To be generous with others, knowing that God showers his goodness upon us with immense generosity”. While showing us God’s mercy, Christ at the same time confronts us with a requirement that we should always order our lives based on love and mercy.

Prepared by Fr MieczysławPiotrowski, S. Chr.





Source: https://loamagazine.org/archive/2016/2016-37/the-wonderful-gift



The article was published with the permission from "Love One Another!" in September 2020.




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