The Infinite Love and Mercy of God
People with questions. The Bible is absolutely full of them. A crook on a cross. A wildman in a cemetery. A five-time divorcee. A despondent cripple. A grieving sister. A father at the end of his rope.
Why are these portraits in the Bible? So we can look back with amazement at what Jesus did? No… these aren’t just Sunday school stories. They are historic moments in which a real God met real pain so we could answer the question, “Does God care when I hurt?”
God cares for our hurts. The God who hears each heartbeat also hears the cry of every broken heart. He is not a God who is faraway and watching over the clouds, untouched by our miseries or unaware of our limitations. He knows our frailty. He knows our frustrations, and He has shared in our deepest griefs.
“In sinking to the depths he rose to the heights. Now he has radically fulfilled the commandment of love, he has completed the offering of himself, and in this way he is now the revelation of the true God, the God who is love. Now we know who God is. Now we know what true kingship is. Jesus prays Psalm 22, which begins with the words: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Ps 22:2). He takes to himself the whole suffering people of Israel, all of suffering humanity, the drama of God’s darkness, and he makes God present in the very place where he seems definitively vanquished and absent. The Cross of Jesus is a cosmic event. The world is darkened, when the Son of God is given up to death. The earth trembles. And on the Cross, the Church of the Gentiles is born. The Roman centurion understands this, and acknowledges Jesus as the Son of God. From the Cross he triumphs ever anew.” – Pope Benedict XVI
We have been so used to hearing the Christmas story and the Passion of Jesus that we no longer see the meaning and reality of everything that has happened. Such stories were not written to amuse us, but to help us understand how the Unseen God has left His place of glory to dwell in the darkness and poverty where we are.
Jesus felt real pain and distress. He felt how it was to be criticized. He knew how it felt to be convicted by those to whom He did nothing wrong. The very people he helped and healed were the same ones who asked for His death. The very friends He chose were the ones who betrayed him and denied Him during the time He needed their presence the most. He suffered injustice, abandonment and mockery. He saw His very own mother weeping with a broken heart as she watched her Son in the hands of those who knew no mercy.
No one can ever lead another into the light unless He is first able to come down into the darkness where such a one is lost. He came down right where we’re hurting and understands every suffering we’re going through.
He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows…
God sometimes allows pain to bring us back to Himself.
So I am going to take her into the desert again; there I will win her back with words of love. I will give back to her the vineyards she had and make Trouble Valley a door of hope. She will respond to me there as she did when she was young… Then once again she will call me her husband…Hosea 2:14-16
We look after many kinds of lovers in our lives. Lovers that only disappoint us and shame us and leave us empty after using us. It is not God’s will that these objects of our love cause us pain, but sometimes, God allows us to be hurt so we’d know we’re looking after the wrong kinds of affections to fill our emptiness.
I will show love to those who were called “Unloved,” … -Hosea 2:23
There is no limit to His mercy.
God is just, that is true. But it is because He is just that He is also merciful. He knows our weaknesses. He knows how forgetful we are. He knows how easily we are tempted and swayed into the wrong direction.
The Laws He gave were not meant to burden us. They were meant to protect us, because God loves us so.
In times when we’re not able to do the right thing, God does not wait behind our backs so He could quickly condemn us. He is the same Jesus who bestowed His mercy upon a thief while hanging at the cross. He is the same Jesus who condemned not the woman caught in adultery but said, “Whichever one of you has committed no sin may cast the first stone at her.”
Tell them that no soul that has called
upon My mercy has been disappointed
or brought to shame.
I cannot punish even the greatest sinner if he makes an appeal to My compassion, but on the contrary, I justify him in My unfathomable and inscrutable mercy.
Jesus: My mercy is greater than your sins and those of the entire world. Who can
measure the extent of my goodness? For you I descended from heaven to earth;
for you I allowed myself to be nailed to the cross; for you I let my Sacred Heart be
pierced with a lance, thus opening wide the source of mercy for you. Come, then,
with trust to draw graces from this fountain. I never reject a contrite heart. Your
misery has disappeared in the depths of My mercy. Do not argue with Me about
your wretchedness. You will give me pleasure if you hand over to me all your
troubles and griefs. I shall heap upon you the treasures of My grace.
-Jesus to Sister Faustina, Diary of Divine Mercy
It is not because I have been preserved from mortal sin that I fly to God with loving confidence. I know I should still have this confidence even if my conscience were burdened with every possible crime. I should fling myself into the arms of my Savior, heartbroken with sorrow. I know how he loved the prodigal son, I have heard his words to St. Mary Magdalene, to the woman taken in adultery, and to the woman of Samaria. No, no one could frighten me, for I know what to think about his love and his mercy. I know that a host of sins would vanish in the twinkling of an eye like a drop of water flung into a furnace. – St. Therese of Lisieux
Its not whether God can forgive our gravest sins, it’s whether we’d even want to ask for His forgiveness.-Joyce, itakeoffthemask.com
Here is my servant whom I have chosen,
the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
He will not quarrel or cry out;
no one will hear his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out…
O my divine Master, must it be only your justice which has its victims? Hasn’t your merciful love need of them too? It is everywhere rejected and ignored. Those on whom you long to lavish it seek a wretched, fleeting happiness in other creatures instead of flinging themselves into your arms and welcoming the flames of your divine love. Must your rejected love stay shut up in your Heart? It seems to me that if you found souls offering themselves as sacrificial victims of your love, you would consume them speedily and would rejoice to unloose those torrents of infinite tenderness you hold within yourself. – St. Therese of Lisieux
He has not rejected my prayer; nor withheld his love from me.-Psalm 66
We can search for hope in the strongest of places, and in the best of people,and they shall fall one by one. Only God suffices. Only God.-Joyce, itakeoffthemask.com
Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…
Why does Jesus say “I thirst”? What does it mean? Something so hard to explain in words – … “I thirst” is something much deeper than just Jesus saying “I love you.” Until you know deep inside that Jesus thirsts for you – you can’t begin to know who He wants to be for you. Or who He wants you to be for Him. – Mother Teresa