Tag: Mercy

Does Today’s Church Lack Genuine Mercy?

This article originally appeared on CatholicCulture.org. You can view it here.

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By Dr. Jeff Mirus

Writing about the minor prophets on Tuesday, I mentioned this famous passage from Hosea: “I desire mercy and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God, rather than burnt offerings” (Hos 6:6). Now I am wondering why mercy is so conspicuously absent in the Church today.

This may astound my readers. But I am not referring to talk about mercy. That surrounds us almost constantly as Catholics today. But is mercy not most often advocated in a way that dulls our awareness of the gravity of offending God? Again and again, Catholic leaders and preachers who are far too influenced by the attitudes of our contemporary secular culture insist—or at least imply—that mercy is always about forgiveness and never about conversion, always about affirmation and never about instruction.

But this is not mercy. This is just a way to make our lives easier.

The Good News of Jesus Christ is not only that Christ has died for us so that our sins can be forgiven but also that we can be freed from sin and drawn into union with God by repenting and believing the Gospel (Mk 1:15). This is actually how the evangelist Mark summarizes Christ’s message. To understand what this means, we must ask ourselves about the context in which God is working. Put as simply as possible, this context is explained by St. Paul: “God our Savior…desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:3-4).

Yet for all the talk about mercy today, was there ever an age in the Church’s history when both her leaders and her rank and file were so reluctant to speak God’s truth so that those who are far from Him can “repent and believe the Gospel”? Was there ever an age in which bishops, priests and religious were so prone to assume that every person is doing as well as he can, to argue that it is wrong to judge anyone’s behavior, to assert the value of all belief systems, and to insist that our sole task is to emphasize the isolated fact of God’s mercy—as if the fruits of that mercy may be reaped without belief in God, without trust in God, without learning God’s will, and without repentance and amendment of life?

Borrowing from another of the minor prophets, it was Micah who said that God requires each of us “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Mic 6:8). But, returning to Hosea, have we not instead plowed iniquity, reaped injustice and eaten the fruit of lies (Hos 10:12-13)?

Continue reading here.

See Ralph Martin on EWTN Live!

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Ralph Martin with Bishop Scott McCaig, CC, and Peter Herbeck, at Bishop Scott’s recent ordination.

Ralph Martin will be the guest on the EWTN flagship program Live with Fr. Mitch Pacwa on Wednesday, July 20 from 8-9 p.m. Eastern Time.

Ralph will be discussing with Fr. Mitch the truth about mercy. The second half hour of the program will be devoted to answering viewers’ calls, which are transmitted live for Ralph and Fr. Mitch to answer. If you don’t have EWTN on your cable channels, you can watch it live on-line, by following this link at 8 p.m. on July 20.

Tell your friends!

 

Mercy, Marriage, and the Holy Spirit

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Kathleen Kittle, Renewal Ministries’ missions and conference administrator, authors today’s post about a recent experience that she considers “an overflow of grace” from the Renewal Ministries’ Gathering in April.

Shortly before the Gathering, I attended a talk by Teresa Tomeo and her husband, Deacon Dominick Pastore, on the topic of Mercy in Marriage. The couple’s talk was based on their book Intimate Graces: How Practicing the Works of Mercy Brings Out the Best in Marriages. The next day, while meeting with two women in preparation for the Gathering, I spoke with them about the things Teresa and Dominic shared in their talk.

I shared how impactful it was for me and how it made me really think of my own marriage and the need for and importance of mercy in marriage. Although I had just met one of the ladies, she asked me to share more about what the speakers were talking about and some of the examples the speakers had given. I could tell she was interested, but I didn’t think much of it—except for the fact that I remembered so many of the examples with an unusual clarity. After I told her about how Dominic and Teresa apply the spiritual and corporal works of mercy in their marriage and relationship, she thoughtfully nodded, and we went on with the meeting.

I didn’t think about the encounter again, until a month later, when I ran into the woman while doing some follow-up work after the Gathering. The woman invited me into her office, closed the door, and proceeded to tell me that what I shared that day had had a tremendous effect on her.

After speaking with me, the woman had called her husband—with whom she had been separated for three years—and told him about what she had heard about mercy. As a result of that conversation, they reconciled. She has forgiven him, and they are trying to make a go again of their twenty-year marriage. Her two young-adult children are overjoyed.

The woman said that after she heard the words about mercy in marriage, she experienced a great sense of peace and finally slept through the night. She shared that nothing her family had said to her over the years had penetrated her like our chance conversation; she finally realized that her pride was the thing keeping her from extending mercy and forgiveness to her husband. My words were just what she needed to hear at that moment. She also said the fact that Teresa and Dominic had considered divorce, but had nevertheless stayed together, made a huge impression on her. We both had tears in our eyes. All I could say was, “PRAISE BE TO GOD!” and give her a big hug!

What struck me was that this was evangelization without knowing it. You don’t know when something you’re going to say is going to be used by God—but I definitely followed a prompt. I have been trying to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit more closely, and now all I can say is, “Don’t be scared of it!” God is going to use you! He used me, and I didn’t have to be a great evangelist! I was just sharing something that touched my heart, and He used that.

You don’t usually know how your words will touch someone, but you have to trust. For me, it served to affirm a message to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I think He shared that with me because He wanted me to be more convicted about that.

As St. Francis de Sales said:  “Do what you can, and God will do the rest!”