Saint Josemaria
Quotations from Saint Josemaria

God’s Mercy

Tags: Charity, Sacrament of Reconciliation, Eucharist, Gospel, Generosity, mercy
How good it feels to come back to him whenever we are lost! Let me say this once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy. Christ, who told us to forgive one another “seventy times seven” (Mt 18:22) has given us his example: he has forgiven us seventy times seven. Time and time again he bears us on his shoulders. No one can strip us of the dignity bestowed upon us by this boundless and unfailing love. Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, no. 3.
The Return of the Prodigal Son, Rembrandt (detail). Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg.
The Return of the Prodigal Son, Rembrandt (detail). Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg.

Abundance of charity

The Church must be a place of mercy freely given, where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel.
Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, no. 114.

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches his divine command of charity to all who are ready to listen with an open mind. At the end, by way of summary, he says, “Love your enemies, and do good to them, and lend to them, without any hope of return; then your reward will be a rich one, and you will be children of the most High, generous like him towards the thankless and unjust. Be merciful, then, as your Father is merciful.”

Pope Francis on a visit to Assisi
Pope Francis on a visit to Assisi
Mercy is more than simply being compassionate. Mercy is the overflow of charity, which brings with it also an overflow of justice. Mercy means keeping one’s heart totally alive, throbbing in a way that is both human and divine, with a love that is strong, self-sacrificing and generous. Here is what St Paul has to say about charity in his hymn to this virtue, “Charity is patient, is kind; charity feels no envy; charity is never perverse or proud, never insolent; does not claim its rights, cannot be provoked, does not brood over an injury; takes no pleasure in wrong-doing, but rejoices at the victory of truth; sustains, believes, hopes, endures, to the last.”
Friends of God, no. 232

We have to open our eyes; we have to look around us and recognize how God is calling us through the people at our side. We cannot turn our backs on others, ignoring them, because we are caught up in our own little world. That wasn’t how Jesus lived. The Gospel often speaks of his mercy, his ability to feel the sorrow and share the needs of others. He consoled the widow of Naim; he wept at the death of Lazarus; he felt compassion for the crowds that followed him with nothing to eat; he also had pity on sinners, on those who go through life without knowing light or truth. “And when he landed, Jesus saw a large crowd, and had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.”

When we are truly sons of Mary, we understand this attitude of our Lord, and our heart expands and becomes tender. We feel the sufferings, doubts, loneliness and sorrow of all other people, our brothers and sisters. And we urgently want to help them and speak to them about God, so that they can treat him as their Father and understand the motherly care which Mary is offering them.
Christ is Passing By, no. 146

Unfailing love

What a beautiful truth of faith this is for our lives: the mercy of God! God’s love for us is so great, so deep; it is an unfailing love, one which always takes us by the hand and supports us, lifts us up and leads us on.
Pope Francis, Homily, 7 April 2013

If you leaf through the holy Scripture, you will discover constant references to the mercy of God. Mercy fills the earth. It extends to all his children, and is “all around us.” It “watches over me.” It “extends to the heavens” to help us, and has been continually “confirmed”. God in taking care of us as a loving father looks on us in his mercy – a mercy that is “tender”, welcome as “rain-clouds”.

The life of Jesus Christ is a summary and compendium of the story of divine mercy: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” And on another occasion our Lord said: “Be merciful, therefore, even as your Father is merciful.” Many other scenes of the Gospel have also made a deep impact on us, such as his forgiveness of the adulterous woman, the parable of the prodigal son, that of the lost sheep, that of the pardoned debtor, the resurrection of the son of the widow at Naim. How many reasons based on justice could Christ have found to work this great wonder! The only son of that poor widow had died, he who gave meaning to her life, he who could help her in her old age. But Jesus didn’t perform the miracle out of justice, but out of compassion, because his heart was moved by human suffering.
Christ is Passing By, no. 7

Our Lord Jesus Christ, as though all the other proofs of his mercy were insufficient, institutes the Eucharist so that he can always be close to us. We can only understand up to a point that he does so because Love moves him, who needs nothing, not to want to be separated from us. The Blessed Trinity has fallen in love with man, raised to the level of grace and made “to God’s image and likeness.” God has redeemed us from sin – from the sin of Adam, inherited by all his descendants, as well as from our personal sins – and desires ardently to dwell in our souls: “If anyone love me, he will keep my word; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our abode with him.”
Christ is Passing By, no. 84

God does not get tired of forgiving us

God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy.
Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, no. 3

Another fall, and what a fall! Must you give up hope? No. Humble yourself and, through Mary, your Mother, have recourse to the merciful Love of Jesus. A Miserere, and lift up your heart! And now begin again.
The Way, no. 711

Keep turning this over in your mind and in your soul: “Lord, how many times you have lifted me up when I have fallen, and, once my sins have been forgiven, have held me close to your Heart!” Keep returning to the thought... and never separate yourself from Him again.
The Forge

“The greater you are, the more in all things abase yourself, and you shall find favour with God.” If we are humble, God will never abandon us. He humbles the arrogance of the proud, but he saves the humble. He frees the innocent man, who is rescued because his hands are clean. The infinite mercy of Our Lord is not slow in coming to the aid of those who humbly call upon him. And then he acts as he truly is, as God Almighty. Although there may be many dangers, though the soul may feel harassed and find itself surrounded on all sides by the enemies of its salvation, it will not perish. This is not merely something that was true in days gone by. It continues to happen now.
Friends of God, no. 104

Are you worried that your sins are so many that Our Lord will not listen to you? It is not so, because Jesus is full of mercy. But if despite this marvellous truth you still feel how wretched you are, go to him like the publican did, and say, “Lord, here I am. It’s up to you!” See, too, what St Matthew tells us when Jesus had a paralysed man brought before him. The sick man doesn’t say a word. He is simply there, in the presence of God. And Christ, moved by the man’s contrition, by the sorrow of one who knows he deserves nothing, responds immediately, as merciful as ever, “Take courage, your sins are forgiven.”
Friends of God, no. 253

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