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Everything I Have Is Yours

Day 15 of our 40 Days of Mercy Fast

Everything I Have is Yours

‘At the moment of Your death on the cross, You opened an inexhaustible spring of Mercy for us, giving us Your dearest possession, the Blood and Water from Your heart. Such is the omnipotence of Your Mercy. From it, all grace flows to us.’ (1747)

Grumbling over the obvious Mercy extended to the prodigal, his ‘good’ brother received this from a generous father: ‘My son, you have always been with me, and everything I have is yours.’ (Lk. 15:31)

‘Everything I have is yours…’ Were those words not fulfilled entirely upon the Cross? What more could God give, but His broken body and His shed blood? In its purest, most potent form, Mercy expressed itself in the agonizing death God endured for us.

His death loosed a life-saving tide–‘a sudden release of blood and water’

(Jn. 19:34). Here it is, He says to us—have it all! I won’t fight as you fight; I will endure multiple piercings—from the religious and the political, from sinners and saints, I will turn around the final piercing from the soldier’s sword and release for you everything I have, which is everything you need: water to cleanse you from sin and blood to give you new life. The essence of my life—blood and water—is now yours, flowing for you! Take it! Take it all! Let it make you new! Everything I have is yours!

What more can He give you? What else do you need to be convinced? The River is here. You can wait for other ‘proof’ but no greater truth will be revealed. Mercy finds its richest, deepest expression in Christ Crucified, Christ poured out for us. The Cross gushes: ‘Everything God has is ours…’

No wonder that the New Testament word for mercy, ‘eleos’, means ‘oil that is poured out’. The Church sings in her liturgy–‘Kyrie Eleison’ and ‘Christie Eleison’—she is praying that Jesus would have mercy on us, like oil pouring forth from Heaven.

The oil has been poured out and is flowing from the Cross to all sinners. Heaven’s oil has come to earth. The oil pressed from His broken body has never stopped flowing for us since Calvary. Death cancelled out death, and loosed a tide of Life, a torrent of Mercy, that continues to rise amongst us. ‘Everything He has is ours!’

‘For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him Crucified,…so that your faith may not rest on men’s wisdom but on God’s power.’ (1 Cor. 2:2, 5)

‘O Jesus, teach us to live from Your Cross, the death which is the Source of our life. Grant us child-like, crystalline clarity as to the Mercy flowing and rising from Calvary. Open the eyes of our hearts to Your generous Heart, pierced and powerful in Mercy to us and to all we love. May Your generous Mercy overflow from us to all. May Your passion be magnified in our lives to all who seek Mercy.’

Author’s note – Each day’s entry is based a passage from St Faustina’s diary. The passage entry is the number in parentheses at the end of each opening quote. Diary of St Maria Faustina Kowalska – Divine Mercy in My Soul (Association of Marion Helpers, Stockbridge, MA 01263) is available through the publisher or Amazon.com

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Abundance for a Lonely Son

Day 14 of our 40 Days of Mercy Fast

Abundance for a Lonely Son

‘Jesus, Friend of a lonely heart, You are my haven, You are my peace. You are my salvation, You are my sovereignty in moments of struggle and amidst an ocean of doubt…You are everything to a lonely soul.’ (247)

‘The Parable of the Prodigal Son’ could just as well have been called ‘The Loneliness of His Older Brother.’ This story describes brilliantly two very different personalities with two very different responses to their generous father.

The prodigal bolted in search of a sexier inheritance; probably brash and impulsive, he rebelled against the mundane duties required of him ‘down on the farm’. Sin left him destitute until Mercy called him home, back to the house of his father.

In the meantime, his elder brother never left the father’s house and its affairs; he dutifully served his dad. A disciplined and steady worker, he was ‘in the fields’ of the father (Lk. 15: 25) when the party started for his brother’s homecoming.

My hunch is that the elder was religious and compliant, possessing an achingly clear sense of right and wrong. Readily shamed, he experienced his sin as internal and managed it by suppressing unacceptable feelings like lust, envy and self-righteousness. Perfectionism and guilt combined with a weak grasp of Mercy—here was a ‘good boy’ ready to combust!

God used the return of his brother to reveal his heart—the truth that the elder, for all his goodness, needed Mercy too. He could no longer manage his heart; it erupted in rage and envy against his brother. We might ask ourselves the same question: where is the justice in celebrating one who had been unfaithful when the other had never strayed? It’s as if the elder is demanding: “Honor my sacrifice, Father, not the Mercy!”

Perhaps deeper than the elder’s sin is his loneliness. That applies to many faithful ones who work hard in the Church and who stay virgins, who care deeply about their parents and wish not to dishonor them. What an excellent commitment to righteousness!

And yet one that needs care from the Father, lest such faithfulness lose its center and devolve into self-reliance and self-righteousness.

I have known many who struggle deeply with sexual conflicts and yet who remain faithful to God and the Church. Their biggest temptation is not to gross acts of immorality but to a kind of simmering envy toward the ‘prodigal’ as well as a sense of entitlement for their virginal ‘goodness.’ Unless tended to carefully with Mercy, these ones can ultimately be lost to the idols of this world, certain that the Father cares little about their quieter needs.

We need to hear the words of the generous father toward His resentful elder son: ‘My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.’ (Lk. 15: 31) The Father would remind us similarly: My Mercies are new daily for your quiet ‘elder brother’ sins and needs.

We have never ceased to be the apple of His eye. May this parable give us pause to slow down and reflect upon the Mercy that is ours. Close the gap in our lonely hearts with the Presence of Your loving attentiveness, Merciful Father.

‘Who is weak and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin and I do not inwardly burn?’ St. Paul (2 Cor.11: 29)

‘Father, we too are weak. At times we are subject to desires that deride us, and a loneliness that only You fully understand. Would You draw near to us as we seek and serve You today? We have become dutiful in our gratitude to You. Remind us of Your Mercy for us. And for all the elder sons and daughters who have wandered, bring them back into the Heart of Your Mercy. Give us new sight into their suffering. Grant us Your heart for them today.’

Author’s note – Each day’s entry is based a passage from St Faustina’s diary. The passage entry is the number in parentheses at the end of each opening quote. Diary of St Maria Faustina Kowalska – Divine Mercy in My Soul (Association of Marion Helpers, Stockbridge, MA 01263) is available through the publisher or Amazon.com

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Jesus: A Fountain of Living Water

Day 9 of our 40 Days of Mercy Fast

‘O inexhaustible spring of Divine Mercy, pour Yourself out upon us! Your goodness knows no limits. Confirm , O Lord, the power of Your mercy over the abyss of our misery, for You have no limits to Your mercies.’ (819)

The Old Testament streams of mercy converge in the New Testament and well up into a fountain of ‘living water’. Jesus is that fountain. From Him flow rivers of Life that make the unclean pure, the weak strong, and the broken whole. Jesus embodies Mercy. He releases Mercy to sinners, manifesting the truth that ‘those who were far away from God have been brought near’ to Him (Eph. 2: 13).

One barrier for sinners in relation to a Holy God is shame. The emotion of separation and inferiority, shame reminds the soul of its sinful distance from Him. It functions like a ‘shame-coat’, repelling even good expressions of ‘living water.’

Jesus offers this ‘liquid love’ for the first time early in John’s Gospel (Chapter 4). He encounters a woman steeped in shame. Her shame was two-fold. First, she had experienced much ‘social shame’ due to her ethnicity. Samaritans were scorned in that day, especially by Jews. Originally an ethnic hybrid of Jewish and Canaanite blood, Samaritans reminded Jews of the shame they incurred by intermingling with a forbidden culture.

Jews looked down on Samaritans with squinting eyes. Such social shame is evil–it has its source in the fallen traditions of men, not in God’s heart. But it can be just as powerful. That woman would have thought Jesus had nothing but scorn for her, just as a man or woman struggling with same-sex attraction might fear the bullying of an angry peer or preacher.

But the Samaritan had a second type of shame as well, the shame we feel when we go outside of God’s will. This woman had many sexual partners in her past and one in her present. She knew that Jesus was a holy man; she knew also that she was not holy, sexually-speaking. Such shame may have tempted her or us to turn away from holy ones for fear of incurring rejection, condemnation, etc.

In John 4, Jesus turns to the Samaritan woman, and to us, in our shameful state. Each of us is a mixture of both good and bad shame. We have sinned, and we have been sinned against by those motivated by ungodly traditions of shame.

Jesus makes it clear in John 4 that the cure for both types of shame is in His ‘living water.’ Only Mercy can dissolve the ‘shame coat’ that tempts us to resist Love. He says to us all: ‘The water I give you will become in you a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ (Jn. 4: 13)

Here Jesus is prophesying two future events: the flood of Blood and Water released at Calvary, and the Holy Spirit released at His Resurrection. (Jn. 19: 34; Jn. 20: 22)

He releases to this woman a foretaste of this flood of Mercy. What matters here is how tender His Mercy is toward this shameful one, and how powerful is His Mercy to dissolve that shame and enter into her depths. Shame is no match for Almighty Mercy!

He is not content with us just knowing cerebrally about His Love; He wants us to partake of Mercy at the most deeply personal level until it springs up within us a Fountain of Life.

‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, streams of living water will flow from within him.’ (Jn.7: 37, 8)

‘Jesus, remind us of how You stoop down to sinners in order to raise us up. Remove the shame that bars us from Your Presence. We pray for all who still hide from You in shame; let ‘Living Water’ flow to them. Use Your servants to make known to the shamed how You draw near to them in order to set them free.’

 

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