Yearning for Mercy in a Society affected by infringements on life.
Conference for the first International apostolic congress on mercy.
It’s with great joy and honor that I stand before you today as a lay person, and a Christian involved in the service of life in my country. We all feel that there is still much to discover and to share about the treasure of Divine Mercy, and I will attempt to contribute from my own experience, nourished by the Word of God.
First I will invoke the moral suffering provoked by the deliberate attacks on life and especially abortion. I will continue by describing the aspirations arising from these wounds. All of this leads to considering the announcement of Divine Mercy as a priority for evangelization.
I – Moral suffering provoked by attacks against life
Our hearts turn with the Lord to the misery of the people
When I try to determine the nature of our Christian vocation in today’s society, I often recall the society of Moses. Hurt by the slavery of his people, Moses first reacted by violence, going as far as killing an Egyptian who mistreated an Israelite, before fleeing to the desert. There, at the Burning Bush, he was called by the Word of the Lord. This word echoed his own viewpoint: « I have seen the misery of my people » (Ex 3, 7). What Moses had seen and what he had tried to resolve with awkwardness and brutality, the Lord sees it perfectly. He calls him to act, to negotiate (“I am sending you to Pharaoh”). He gives him the keys for this undertaking: a staff, a companion… He also underlines the communitarian and spiritual sense of this vocation of liberating his brothers: “You will give Me praise on this mountain” (Ex 3, 12). All of this began from a burning heart-to-heart between man and God turning together toward the misery of the people. Mercy is already present!
In his encyclical letter « God is Love/Deus Caritas Est”» the Holy Father (Benoît XVI) speaks of the “program of the Good Samaritan”: “a heart that sees”. But what do we see? Thank God, not everything. We wouldn’t be able to stand it. Every one of us, wherever he lives, is called to see the misery that touches him and tugs at his heart strings. And it’s when our hearts harden that we turn our eyes away. We all pass by the things we don’t wish to see. We’ve all known this experience, as bitter as a betrayal. Allow me however to reveal the feeling of loneliness which sometimes seizes us. I believe it seizes many members of associations which are involved in the service of protecting life. It’s also the loneliness that might feel each individual who tries to respond to social, humanitarian or spiritual emergencies. We sometimes have the feeling of living a nightmare, being the only ones awake, to recognize the magnitude of the tragedy. It’s true for famine, for material misery, for abuse, and all forms of injustice. It’s true for the infringements on life and the subsequent consequences.
At Alliance VITA we listen, meet and support numerous individuals confronted with life’s trials: broken families, pre and post-natal mourning, tragedies of handicap, solitude and the end of life. I will emphasize here the question of abortion, even if we can easily transpose these reflections to other deliberate attacks on life or human dignity such as euthanasia, acts of suicide, prostitution…
The silent scream of those who cry for their aborted infants
On the one hand- with the limited angle imposed by the limits of my human nature – I can say, speaking about France in 2008: “I see a huge misery crushing my people!” Behind the cold statistics, I begin to realize with horror, what it means when almost 40% of French women have undergone an abortion at least once during their childbearing years – according to the official figures of the National Demographic Studies. The revelations, that a certain number of them have made to us (but also men, or the brothers and sisters of the unborn, or even the caretakers involved in these acts) help us to better measure the depth of their suffering.
I have heard terrible phrases, often the same ones: « I died following my abortion”, “I don’t deserve to be a mother”, “I committed an odious crime”. These cries of desperation, accompanied by tears, express the suffering of mothers in mourning who dare not see themselves as mothers, and who remain paralyzed by feelings of guilt, as if haunted by a deed that has scarred them, sometimes embedded in a feeling of death.
I will read only one of the hundreds of testimonials that we have received lately:
« Thanks for your answer; it really helps me to feel understood. Now I’m trying to keep my chin up, my children have seen me cry all too often and my husband as well. But inside me it’s extremely difficult; everything is ready to come back up to the surface at any moment. This baby was a dream, the most beautiful, the most magnificent, and the most precious. I am the one who destroyed it and killed my baby, this little being inside me whom I should have protected. Things will never be the same; something in me died with this infant, a little part of me has disappeared with him. I sold my soul to the devil; he will torture me all my life, day after day, month after month, and year after year. It’s up to me to learn to live with that. Life must continue, I have to cope with it.”
Many women suffer for a long time in silence because they don’t believe it’s possible to be consoled after abortion. They believe they are cursed. It should be specified that these expressions of suffering come from individuals with varied spiritual convictions, whether they are Christians or non-Christians, whether they are believers or non-believers. It’s not – as purported by some people – a matter of resurgence of a Judeo-Christian culture in order to make women feel guilty. Certainly, it should be specified that not all women express the suffering that I report, and all do not experience it either. But many are beginning to speak of it. And they are not a minority.
I am often amazed by the humility of these wounded hearts, by the sincerity of their efforts, and the beauty of their soul inhabited by a mysterious expectation. But what on earth is this person’s profound yearning, which, on the surface, “does not want to be consoled”, who often says that she cannot forgive herself, or even “live again” after having suffered an act of death? It’s a yearning for consolation, for forgiveness and for life. It’s a yearning for Divine Mercy.
II – The yearning for Mercy arising from these wounds
If I were to resume in one unique word the attitude which seems the most appropriate to these painful situations, I would give priority to the word “lovingkindness”. In his book Our Lady of Wisdom, dated 1950, Maurice Zundel invokes a more obsolete word: “benevolence”: “The persistent cycle of despair in which man is crushed (…) this failure of life” is “exorcised”, he explains when “a flash of benevolence reveals the moral sense of the universe in a human face”.
Morals and benevolence. Here are two words that anti-Christians want us to believe are incompatible whereas in Mercy they are related. Allow me to cite a long text from Zundel which precedes his previous quotation, underlining some expressions. Because in my opinion, this text is a magnificent tool for Christians training to listen to and accompany and to find the “respectful distance” when meeting with others in the situations that we encounter.
« It is thanks to the infinite respect that he shows in front of his mystery, that man simultaneously recognizes, the greatness of his soul and the One who, alone, can fulfill it: God, whom he already senses, without being able to name Him, in the absolute liberty that you leave to him. By your act of faith in all he can become over and above that which he can be currently; in the homage that you render for everything divine grace can accomplish in him; in your willingness to accept him and attest to the position of personal uniqueness he is called to accomplish; in refusing to judge him or intervene in his consciousness unless asked, and lastly in this privacy, in this silent acceptance of all that cannot be phrased out: in this genuflection of your soul before his, man will sense opening up before him infinite spaces where he can breathe the fresh air of his true homeland. He can be himself, take off his mask, and show you the true face of his birth.”
We are thus invited to be in wonder and in awe before the beauty of the person who reveals herself or himself in all her or his destitution. Here our soul is naturally in genuflection. As Jesus says “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”
To come as a witness to the divine Mercy, we can only be on the fragile boundary where love and truthfulness meet. Thus we do not betray morality nor goodness.
The adulterous woman, the Samaritan woman or even Mary Magdalene, were each united on this boundary, by the Lord’s chaste, tender and benevolent eye.
He shows us that Mercy does not signify adhering to sin, quite the opposite. “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” (Jn 4, 17-18). It’s an enigma for us to realize that such a statement is a source of conversion, not only for this woman, whose chaotic sexual life Jesus points out, but also for the thousands of other Samaritans that she rouses. How can such a scathing statement – almost insulting in such a context – open up to joy? Having learnt that the tone of voice and the quality of eye contact constitute 80% of the impact on communication, I dare conclude that Divine Mercy, river of life-giving water was heard, was perceived, and gushed forth in this encounter, over and above words. Divine Mercy is a transmitter of truthfulness.
Overcome the misinterpretation that defies Mercy
Yet, a horrible lie – I dare speak of « satanic misinterpretation» – mires our society in deadly guilt. Victor Hugo’s verse: “The eye was in the grave and it stared at Cain”, seems to me to tragically describe what is happening – something that sometimes happens to us – when we imagine that the Lord is looking upon us as a ferocious hawk chasing its’ fragile prey. How it is painful for us to hear the Church portrayed as a castrating step-mother who curtails liberty and ceaselessly tracks, judges and punishes sinners!
The prodigal son, at the moment where he returns to his father, comes out the winner in the spiritual fight against this lie. The same strong opposition seen, in our society, between despair and Divine Mercy. The Church naturally affirms that the deliberate infringements on life constitute offenses of a particular seriousness, which our consciences well know if they haven’t been anesthetized. The rapid acceleration of infringements on life in families or in health-care institutions therefore makes the announcement and the reception of Divine Mercy a priority. It is a vital emergency: from a spiritual and even humanitarian standpoint.
How many times have we heard someone suffering after an abortion say: « My life is broken» ! A woman even explained to us one day: “I’m a Christian and I had an abortion, therefore God could never forgive me.” A “god” who could not forgive! Radical reversal of the message of the Gospel and the concept of the Lord’s might! Even if I’m often joyful at the heap of Mercy that has already come to quench my yearning for forgiveness, I‘m not sure I’ll escape such manifest error.
The ignorance of Mercy poisons our pagan societies, with the same violence as the infringements on life do. “Behold the days are coming, when I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, from north to east, they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it!” These words from the prophet Amos (8, 11-12), come to me often when I receive individuals milling around today, without bearings, and without knowing the Christian religion, the religion of Life and Mercy. Unfair trials multiply when social conditioning leads us to ignore laws forbidding murder, even though it is written in every heart. Families are wounded and torn apart. And when Mercy is misunderstood, these trials become encysted, more serious and are repeated.
II – The yearning for Mercy arises from these wounds
To try to resume in one word the attitude which seems the most appropriate to these painful situations, I would give priority to the word “loving-kindness”. In his book Our Lady of Wisdom, dated 1950, Maurice Zundel invokes a more obsolete word: “benevolence”: “The persistent cycle of despair in which man is crushed (…) this failure of life” is “exorcised”, he explains when “a flash of benevolence reveals the moral sense of the universe in a human face”.
Morals and benevolence: two words that anti-Christians want us to believe are incompatible whereas in Mercy they are connected. Allow me to cite a long text from Zundel which precedes his previous quotation, underlining certain expressions. Because in my opinion, this text is a magnificent tool for Christians training to listen and accompany and to find the “respectful distance” when meeting with others in the situations that we encounter.
« It’s with infinite respect that you give witness to the mystery where man simultaneously recognizes, the enormousness of his soul and the One who can fulfill it: he already has the presentiment, without being able to name Him as God, in an absolute liberty that your viewpoint accords him. By your act of faith in all he can become over and above that which he is currently; in the homage that you render for everything divine grace can accomplish in him; in your willingness to accept him and attest to the position of personal uniqueness he is called to accomplish; in refusing to judge or intervene in his consciousness unless asked, and lastly this reservation to silently adhere to the inexpressible: the genuflection of your soul before his, the individual will feel opening up before him infinite spaces where he can breathe the fresh air of his true homeland. He can be himself, take off his mask, and show you the true nature of his countenance.”
We are thus invited to be in wonder and in awe before the beauty of the person who confides in all his destitution. Here our soul is naturally in genuflection. As Jesus says “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”
To give testimony to divine Mercy, we are on the fragile boundary where love and truthfulness meet. Thus, one mustn’t betray morality or goodness.
The adulterous woman, the Samaritan woman or even Mary Magdalene, were each united on this boundary, by the Lord’s chaste, tender and benevolent regard
He shows us that Mercy does not signify adhering to sin, quite the opposite. “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” (Jn 4, 17-18). It’s an enigma for us to realize that such a statement is a source of conversion, not only for this woman, where Jesus points out the seriousness of sexual life, but also for the thousands of other Samaritans that she rouses up. How can such an incisive statement – almost insulting in such a context – be a source of joyfulness? Having learned that the tone of voice and the quality of regard constitute 80% of the impact on communication, I dare conclude that divine Mercy, river of life-giving water was heard, was perceived, and gushed forth in this encounter, over and above words. Divine Mercy transmits truthfulness.
Overcome the opposition that defies divine Mercy
Nevertheless, a horrible lie – I’m speaking of « satanic opposition » – mires our society in deadly guilt. Victor Hugo’s verse: “The eye was in the grave and it stared at Cane”, seems to me to tragically describe what is happening – something that sometimes happens to us – when we imagine that the Lord is looking upon us as a ferocious hawk chasing its’ fragile prey. How it is painful for us to hear the Church portrayed as a castrating step-mother who curtails liberty and ceaselessly tracks, judges and punishes sinners!
The prodigal son, at the moment where he returns to his father, comes out the winner in the spiritual combat this lie. The same test of strength is seen, in our society, by not trusting in divine Mercy. The Church naturally affirms that the deliberate infringements on life constitute offenses of a particular seriousness, which consciences already realize if they haven’t been anesthetized. The rapid acceleration of infringements on life in the family context or in health-care institutions therefore renders the announcement and the reception of divine Mercy a priority. This is a vital emergency: spiritually and even humanitarian.
How many times have we heard someone suffering after an abortion say: « My life is over »! A woman even explained to us one day: “I’m a Christian and I had an abortion, therefore God could never forgive me.” A “god” who could not forgive! Complete reversal of the Gospel and the concept of the Lord’s power! Even if I’m often joyful at the heap of Mercy that has already come to quench my yearning for forgiveness, I‘m not sure I’ll escape bewilderment in a rash moment.
The ignorance of Mercy empoisoned our pagan societies, with the same violence as they denied the respect for life. “Behold the days are coming, when I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, from north to east, they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it!” These words from the prophet Amos (8, 11-12), come to me often when I receive individuals milling around today, without bearings, and without knowing the Christian religion, the religion of Life and Mercy. Unfair trials multiply when social conditioning leads us to ignore laws forbidding murder, even though it is written in every heart. Families are wounded and torn apart. And when Mercy is misunderstood, these trials become encysted, more serious and are repeated.
To those who err in this direction, how can we explain the law which defends life and refuses murder? It would be a mistake to regard it as a back pack of taboos; heavy burdens to be transmitted to make people feel as though they are carrying heavy yokes which thwart and impair their fulfilment. The truth is, prohibiting murder is a commandment which is liberating. The respect of life, John Paul II explained is even the condition for happiness (Gospel of Life, N° 6). As for the capacity to forgive and to accept to be forgiven, it is the secret – almost a too well-kept secret– of love. Those who are unaware of this are often crushed by the weight of resentment and guilt.
Answering to the need of consolation saves lives
« Comfort, comfort my people! » (Isaiah 40:1) The sinner needs to be comforted. The first Alliance VITA congress held Saturday, April 2, 2005 in Paris had the theme “The urgency for comfort”. On that night, we all learnt that the pope of Mercy had been called back to God.
Why is it so urgent to comfort others? Only a culture of Mercy is capable of stopping the spiral in which “structures of sin” destroy human beings. Pope John Paul II, in the Gospel of Life, magnificently expresses what he calls: “The paradoxical mystery of the merciful justice of God” by commenting, appropriately the very first murder, which is a fratricide. The fear of the Lord (not to be confused with the holy fear which His greatness inspires us) leads to death. It is indeed with a sign of life and protection that Cain is marked, the first murderer who was fleeing in denial. If only our society knew how wide open are the Father‘s arms, what festivities in Heaven accompany a sinner’s repentance, especially that of a “great sinner” as St John Vianney would have said, and regarding abortion, that “nothing is lost” according to John Paul II’s expression in the Gospel of Life (art. 99), these wounds could become fountains of consolation. So many people are yearning for this very consolation when they have not been up to their respective vocations: men “protectors of life”, women “invisible sentinels”, doctors “guardians of life”, politicians in charge of establishing laws which defend life.
When a woman tells us “I committed an odious crime!, we should be capable of faithfully reformulating it to her with the Lord’s tenderness : “you committed an odious crime?” It is useless to deny the seriousness of the act she confesses. Those who do this, fleeing, appalled by what is said, can even hurt those who came seeking to feel understood. It is useless to add suffering to suffering. Our loving-kindness must be flawless. But we also need to be careful not to use any deceitful vocabulary which, by trying to reassure, lulls their conscience and risks to lock them up in the anxiety of doom. Persuading a woman that her abortion was inescapable is the best way to crush her.
Even VIP’s who are in favor of “the right to abortion” are beginning to recognize that some women need to ask forgiveness after committing such an act. I have in mind, for instance, Stéphane Clerget, a psychiatrist and recent author of “What age would he be today? The taboo of abortions” (Fayard 2007). Even if this idea of forgiveness without actual repentance, or even regret, is somewhat incomplete, it is still a sign.
Only by accepting this gift of Mercy an individual can avoid the guilty feelings which suffocate one to the point of not being able to differentiate oneself from the act itself. A person, who identifies herself or himself with a serious act she or he has committed, turns this act into a demeaning “infectious cannonball” which may lead to psychic, spiritual, emotional or even physical death.
“I am a murderous mother!” It’s this prison of a doomed life that often explains the repetition of abortions. The announcement of Mercy is essential and urgent to prevent repetitions. Mercy allows a separation between the act and the person: ”As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” (Ps 103). Mercy allows recognizing then rejecting the sin, to be freed from it.
Healing spiritual wounds caused by infringements on life
A wound resulting from an infringement on life – so I noticed when listening to women who had aborted – is often a spiritual wound. Paradoxically, the innate consciousness of a serious injustice often brings forth the question of God into these tormented lives. The man knows that he cannot totally extinguish life in his fellow man because in every human life, there is an immortal reality that no one can touch. Not even Satan. However, an intimate tabernacle has been desecrated. A woman whom I accompanied explained that her abortion, by the consciousness of seriously violating a sacred law, had been at the origin her conversion. It was towards God that she had turned, even if she did not really feel she was taken seriously by the priest who first heard her confession.
Unfortunately, the spiritual consciousness of the sin can go with a religious misinterpretation with tragic consequences: “I had nightmares: my child was welcoming me to hell to blame me for my act” a non-Christian person told me. I sometimes say to a woman crying over her abortion with guilt: “Are you not a mother in mourning?” In any case, this is the way I look at her. and I am encouraged in this behavior by the way John-Paul II addresses directly the women who have experienced abortion in article 99 of the Gospel of Life: “Do not give in to discouragement (…) Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourself over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.” (There is a lot to say about the importance of a genuine liturgy for forgiveness for those who request the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and the detailed steps that could complete this humble and courageous gesture.
Earlier in his encyclical letter, Jean-Paul II described with much realism the conditioning that may have limited these women’s responsibility. And further on, he formulated a delicate phrase which fills us with hope: “You will realize that nothing is lost and you can also ask forgiveness from your child who lives from now on in the Lord”. Nothing is lost! Neither for the mother, nor for the child. In the Lord, the bond of maternal and filial love, considered to be annihilated, is restored. At work here is the absolute divine limit imposed on evil that women often considered as final, unredeemable, and irreversible. “Death, where is your victory?” This is what I say to myself when, having traveled along a path of Mercy with women having undergone an abortion, these women become involved in our help services for pregnant women in difficulty or those who have already aborted.
Grasp truth through Mercy
Most likely, we have sometimes been counter productive in the revelation of divine Mercy by stigmatizing the sinners, by judging them, and finally by throwing the first stone, to completely crush them. Recently, I asked a friend who is a Protestant pastor for advice on this point. He shares the same convictions and commitment for the respect of all human life: and he acknowledged having made the same observations. By our contact with individuals who have had the experience of abortion, we have acquired a greater consciousness of the necessity of accompanying every public or pastoral speech on the respect of life with a special gentleness.
The violence of guilt feelings which sometimes explode when an individual realizes the evil she was capable of committing, stimulates us in our announcement of divine Mercy. Some truths can be cruel if they are not accompanied by the tenderness of consolation. What would have become of us without the phrase of Christ on the Cross “Forgive them; they know not what they are doing”? Many times, when speaking publicly of women’s sufferings regarding abortion, have I received immediately in confidence from certain men that my words, they said in sobbing, had “stabbed” them. They sometimes realized, by the grace of these tears, that their own existence had collapsed, since that act, that they pushed a friend to undergo, without being able to build a stable life as a couple and envisage fatherhood. When we open such a wound, the recourse to divine Mercy is vital, a healing bandage for the soul.
It should be specified that it’s often necessary to encourage individuals not to judge themselves as severely as they might be tempted to, and they even should avoid a certain masochism that might keep them in graves of guilt. It’s no wonder we often hear: “I can not manage to forgive myself”. The eclipse of the sense of God leaves man distraught faced with his shortcomings, in a deadlock, as only God is almighty in forgiveness.
To fully receive this forgiveness requires, according to the judicial oath formula, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
And that’s why it’s up to us to help those who suffer from an infringement on life to put things into perspective by revisiting their past (cf. Gospel of life n°99). We will often discover -in what seems to be a puddle of mud –golden nuggets – I want to say love – remain present. The woman who accused herself of being 100% responsible for an abortion finally recognizes that no one came to her help; that she was undermined on different levels, and that she even tried to resist the pressure from those who saw abortion as an inescapable solution – and it is not rare- that the beginning of her pregnancy was marked by enjoyment or even delight, before being suppressed by the worries of the world. We also discover a lot of unawareness. “I didn’t know”, a man confides who would have gladly sacrificed his life for his living child, but didn’t really see himself as a father when his partner was pregnant.
III – Divine Mercy invites us to continue evangelizing
View infringements on life as calls to evangelization
How do today’s Christians see themselves when faced with the infringements on life that have become quantitatively so widespread in our society today? I am afraid that, too often, we don’t look at this reality in the right way. Too often, we remain at the level of principles or of the image of the Church. We are angry because the principle of justice is violated. We are sad because the Church’s message is not listened to, even denigrated. This angriness and sadness are legitimate: the legitimate laws for infringements on life are scandalous and we desire for the Church to be honored. But be careful not to have a “skewed approach” by making an ideology out of defending life. Be careful to remember that it’s Christ who is offended, and not us. Even if we are shocked that innocents are victims, let’s not forget that sinners need our compassion more. Let’s look at what happens in their bodies and in their hearts: there is physical, emotional, moral and spiritual suffering. Their consciences are suffering, they are wounded or lulled.
Some Christians who only see the ban on murder as a revealed dogma without regarding it as a natural evidence are quickly weakened in oppositional debates or when put to the test. Others give up their religious convictions, and end up by criticizing the Church’s position in favor of life, instead of becoming advocates as John-Paul II requested in his exhortation at the beginning of the millennium, in his remarks on what makes the Church unpopular.
We especially should not forget that the motivation of every word from the Church goes back to Love. Since, in every infringement on life, there is a fault or a sin, and a serious infringement against justice, therefore the love of the sinner is what should motivate us. For the sinner, the arms of the Church are completely open to him as those of the Christ on the Cross. Our fellow brothers and sisters should give witness to this.
Coming back to the way we look on infringements against life: and what if we stopped considering them as obstacles to evangelization or as insults to the Church’s word? Why not detect in them urgent appeals to evangelization, to liberation, to experiencing divine Mercy? If we are sent out to the sick and sinners, abortion will logically become an objective and an area of priority for Evangelization. Excuses for pleading for my parish, but if we realize that thousands of people of all ages live, in our society, with abortion on their conscience, we can discover a central focus for the New Evangelization, by divine Mercy.
Announcing the divine Mercy for which we ourselves also yearn
Those who denounce injustice are threatened by obstacles of violence. As Moses before he fled to the desert, or St Peter, before his denial, the Christians in our countries are threatened by this violence. If prohibiting murder, which is written into our consciousness by natural law, was confirmed to a murderer by the Ten Commandments, it is certainly not insignificant. That the mission of the first pope should have been confirmed by a triple denial does not seem insignificant either. In the same way, the fact that the elders are the first to leave the sacrificial circle around the adulterous woman, likewise a hint of inner memory tells me not to judge those who commit an injustice, whatever it may be. Who am I to judge others?
It appears to me that the spirituality of divine Mercy thus invites us to successive renouncements as we discover the extent of our misery, of the misery we so successfully hide from others that we end up hiding it from our own eyes. Are we not all miserable, capable of the worst before “wailing under the weight of our sins”? Is it not at this very moment that we are ready to be transformed by pure divine light? “Today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23, 43) With divine Mercy, we announce what is life-giving and that for which we ourselves yearn.
What does Jesus ask for, in the poverty of the crib, or when he implores “I’m thirsty!” (Jn 19, 28) on the Cross, if it isn’t that we bring Him our miseries so that His divine Mercy, gushing forth in water and blood from His pierced heart, transform them into total victory against evil?
Of course, we must beware of pessimism as well as glorifying suffering. Little Teresa, who also had her own penitent thief, shows us the way: that of trust. You remember her profession of faith in divine Mercy: ‘Even if I had committed all the crimes imaginable, I would still keep the same trust, because I know that this multitude of offenses is only like a drop of water on a burning bush.”
The need for Missionaries of Mercy in our countries
Just as Moses felt himself to be a pitiful negotiator when he was sent to meet Pharaoh, which allowed for the Lord to speak through him, Blessed Mother Teresa felt herself to be the most unworthy of the sisters when she received the call from the Lord. “Bring me to the poor people’s slums. Come, be my lantern. I don’t want to go alone. They don’t know me, and because of that, don’t desire me » (…) “Unleash me from the grips of the evil one. If you only knew how many of the little ones sin every day…! » (José Luis Gonzalez-Balado Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Médiaspaul, 2003) And here is what she reveals to us, thereafter, in speaking about Occidental countries we call “rich”: “Your countries are even poorer than India, because the mother is a murderer” and also, with that legendary gentleness of hers: “The biggest threat against peace, is abortion!” An observation that is proved in a tangible way by its destructive impact on couples and on families.
What should we conclude? Just as those who live in material poverty need missionaries of charity, as witnesses of the tenderness and forgiveness of Christ, I believe our rich countries, crushed by their ignorance of God, and by the moral poverty of intimate infringements against life, have an urgent need for new witnesses for life, missionaries of Mercy.