Holiness, charity, and spirituality, are terms which lose their Catholic-Christian foundation if they are not defined, understood, and strived for, under the shadow of the Cross, in the unfathomable depths of Divine Mercy.
For Christianity is not a mere set of rules; nor is it a path to mere transcendence.
It is, rather, the unearned reception of God's Mercy, when we least deserve it, and the power of this Mercy--in the Love of God, exemplified in Jesus--to change us into merciful people of God.
“Lord, great and awesome God, you who keep your merciful covenant toward those who love you and observe your commandments! We have sinned, been wicked and done evil; we have rebelled and departed from your commandments and your laws." Daniel 9;4-10
Oh, how great the pain of sinful suffering.
Oh, how great the joy of Mercy Divine!
In large numbers, like our Israelite ancestors, we have, Catholic and non-Catholic-Christian disciples of Jesus, rebelled, and departed from God's commandments. With our hands sullied in dirty politics, and the culture of death, not to mention our all too full participation in the promiscuity of the pop scene, we have sinned in every way imaginable.
The shame and guilt is unbearable, if not for you, Lord. For there is no salvation for us, except through you, dear Lord.
This Lent, please hear our prayer, for our personal sinfulness, and for Catholics/Christians gone astray.
"Help us, O God our savior, because of the glory of your name; Deliver us and pardon our sins for your name’s sake." Psalm 79:8-9, 11, 13
God, in His infinite Mercy, avails us of the gift of sacramental confession. But we have to get our butts in gear and show up, in order to receive Mercy and grace. When we think that we can ask God for forgiveness and strength solely through prayer, we are only partly correct. God does forgive us and grace us in repentant prayer. Yet, especially for Catholics, without the grace of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, in sanctifying grace (the grace of God's Life within us), we tend to rely all too much on our own strength.
Truth be told, we will eventually run face first into sin.
God is our salvation, God is our strength. Better said, we are forgiven by God's designs, God's sacraments, and strengthened by God's grace alone. Mercy propels us forward, in the direction of Love. Personal effort alone will never get us very far. Sin is its eventual destiny.
"Forgive and you will be forgiven." Luke 6:36-38
When praying the 'Our Father,' we are reminded that forgiveness, and being forgiven, are related realities. Before we judge our neighbor, we should refresh our memory in our own faults and failures. Don't worry, forgiveness is not condoning sin, not acquiescing to evil powers; rather, it is forgiving the weakness in the other person, in solidarity with their human frailty, while opening the doors to the Catholic/Christian faith through the greatest evangelical tool every created...practiced Mercy!
We are all sinners in need of the Savior. The best way to receive the necessary Mercy in order to enter into Loving Communion with God is first, repentance (for Catholic's, sacramental confession), second, prayerful reception of Divine Mercy, and third, charity expressed as shared compassion in Mercy freely given.