Merton on Mercy

Merton on LentFrom Chapter 11 of No Man Is An Island:

We can have the mercy of God whenever we want it, by being merciful to others: for it is God’s mercy that acts on them, through us, when He leads us to treat them as He is treating us.

If we want to know God, we must learn to understand that weaknesses and sins and imperfections of other(s) as if they were our own.

Perhaps an operator could get the idea this is pelagian, but I think that’s a rabbit hole. For both pharisee and rigorist.

When we have mercy on others, we are operating instead from the vantage point of Jesus. We do as he did and would do. I thinnk there is a supernatural grace at work when we show mercy quietly, humbly, and without expectation of reward.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to Merton on Mercy

  1. Liam says:

    God also understands even better than any of us what it feels like to feel unloved and unwanted. To have people only value you for what you can do for them.

    Do we let our sinfulness get in the way of telling God how much he delights us and that we love him? If we are waiting to become sinless or successfully contrite before we do that, so that we are not hypocritical, we’ve succumbed to a form of pelagianism that is a classic gift of the Evil One – what I call the whipsaw – where you succumb to temptation, but worse, after succumbing, tell yourself that there’s no point of trying again because you’re not good enough. (Any time you become aware of this internal feedback, stop it immediately. It’s not your true conscience speaking to you. A properly pricked conscience works differently – it operates on a base of hope and trust.) Well, none of us is good enough or ever going to be good enough (even the saints – the classic exceptions being Mary, Joseph and John the Baptist – and even they didn’t earn their salvation – in fact, that’s what’s really important to consider about being sinless). And – here’s the thing – it’s NOT dispositive. Because of God’s grace!

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