신앙과 교리

Home > 신앙과 교리 > 미사강론

제목 On God's Mercy - the 97th Anniversary of the Miracle of Fatima
작성자 관리자 작성일 2014-11-06

 




On God's Mercy - the 97th Anniversary of the Miracle of Fatima

(12th October 2014)  


My dear brethren, 

Tomorrow we celebrate the 97th anniversary of the miracleof Fatima. Our Lady came to ask people to pray the Rosary, andespecially the devotion of the five first Saturdays, in reparation forthe sins committed against Our Lord and against her Immaculate Heart. Let usconsider the intimate connection between reparation and mercy. 

Mercy is love for the miserable. InLatin, misericordia = miseri+cordia means “to have a heart for those inmisery”, to sympathise with those who are in misery. There is misery for thebody (such as sickness, poverty) and misery for the soul, ignorance and sin.This last misery of sin is the deepest misery, because sin is opposed to love;the sinner does not deserve mercy, but rather indignation, wrath andpunishment. So to still love the sinner is the utmost mercy, mercy for thosewho don’t deserve it, for the sinner who deserves punishment and wrath ratherthan love. Mercy is the infinite Goodness of God who does not render evilfor evil, but overcomes evil by good.

The big problem for man is that man has the terrible tendency tomisunderstand mercy as if God would not care if we sin, asif we could go on sinning and would simply obtain mercy from God nomatter what we do, as if God’s love was so “unconditional” – asthey say today – that He would not require from us to follow His Law. All theseideas as grave distortion of the Mercy of God, grave misunderstandings thatcomes from minds which are not willing to relinquish sin, and would want God togo along with their sinfulness.

These ideas are false. God will never approve sin; God never wantsthe sinner to remain in his sins. God will never approve giving Communion tosinners who continue in their sins, such as divorced and remarried who don’twant a life of continence. To give communion to unrepentant sinners is NOTmercy; this is deceit! To make the sinner thinks that God accepts that he continuesin his sins, without correcting himself, is NOT mercy; this is deceit, and thusthis is cruelty to the sinner, blinding him further in his sins. No!Precisely because God loves the sinner, He does not want the sinner to continuein his sin. Sin is the evil of the mind, sin is death of the soul; sincorrupts the sinner: thus true love for the sinner requires the hatred of sin,the healing of the soul from sin, and would not let the sinner remain in hissins. Similarly, precisely because a good doctor loves the sick person, he doesnot want the sick person to continue to be sick! As the doctor wants thehealing of the patient, so God wants the conversion of the sinner. As adoctor would not be a good doctor unless he were healing the patient, so God wouldnot be merciful unless precisely He were able to convert the sinner and makehim really just, i.e. not sinning (mortally) any more, but rather practicingvirtue faithfully.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ not only cleans the soul of thesinner from his sins, but it also heals the soul of the sinner and empowers itto practice virtue faithfully. And this is true mercy, because it brings truehealing to the soul. Indeed our Lord Jesus Christ is true God and true man: Heis Almighty power at work to save souls, healing and elevatingsouls to Heaven! Let us consider the marvels of this Divine Love: “For God soloved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth inhim, may not perish, but may have life everlasting. For God sent not his Soninto the world, to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by him”(Jn. 3:16-17). Our Lord came to save sinners: the Angel said to St Joseph: “sheshall bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name JESUS. For he shall savehis people from their sins” (Mt. 1:21).

And how did He save us? “The Son of man is not come to be ministeredunto, but to minister, and to give his life a redemption for many” (Mt.20:28). He gave his life for us as a redemption: red-emption = to purchaseback. He paid the price of our sins; He took upon Himself the punishment due toour sins, to make reparation for our sins to the Justice of God. We see hereprecisely the connection between mercy and reparation. Divine Mercy does notsuppress Divine Justice, but rather fulfils it perfectly by offering to theFather perfect reparation for our sins. Truly “mercy exalteth itself abovejudgment” (Jac. 2:13).

He “gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity,and might cleanse to himself a people acceptable, a pursuer of good works”(Tit. 2:14). Here we see clearly that the Mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ doesgive the grace, the power to live a holy life, to be a “clean people, pursuerof good works”.

Our Lord offered Himself as a perfect victim of expiation; Our Ladyoffered herself too at the foot of the Cross with her Divine Son. She too wassinless, perfect innocence, the “Immaculate Conception”: far from refusing tosuffer, precisely because she was full of Charity, she took compassion on oursinful souls and offered herself with Our Lord for our salvation. She thus becameco-redemptrix!

If we receive mercy from Our Lord, we ought in our turn to bemerciful. St Paul thus explains mercy to the Ephesians: “And be ye kind one toanother; merciful, forgiving one another, even as God hath forgiven youin Christ” (Eph. 4:32). And to the Colossians: “Put ye on therefore, asthe elect of God, holy, and beloved, the bowels of mercy,benignity, humility, modesty, patience: Bearing with one another, and forgivingone another, if any have a complaint against another: even as the Lord hathforgiven you, so do you also” (Col. 3:12-13).

We ought to make reparation. First for our own sins, and this ispenance. But then also we ought to make reparation for others. Sometimes wewonder: what can we do for the conversion of so many that are away from ourLord Jesus Christ? We should ask then: what did HE do for their conversion? Heoffered Himself as a victim of propitiation! Therefore we ought to offerourselves as victims of expiation for the salvation of our neighbour. StTherese of the Child Jesus wanted to go and be a missionary everywhere in theworld, but that was impossible. She found the way to do it: by offering herselfto the merciful Love of Jesus, she became a victim of holocaust for thesalvation of millions of souls!

This is the test of true love: are we willing to suffer for ourneighbour? “Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his lifefor his friends” (Jn. 15:13). “My dearest, if God hath so loved us; we alsoought to love one another” (1 Jn. 4:11). We ought to be “imitators of God, asmost dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hathdelivered himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odour ofsweetness” (Eph. 5:1-2). Imitators of God, that means: imitators of Christ –and to imitate Him precisely in this that He offered himself as an oblation anda sacrifice to God.

Where St Mathieu writes: “Be you therefore perfect, as also yourheavenly Father is perfect” (Mt. 5:48), St Luke writes: “Be ye thereforemerciful, as your Father also is merciful” (Lk. 6:36). Mercy does notcondemn the sinner; mercy does not approve the sinner either; mercy offersoneself in reparation for the sin of the sinner: then our prayers takea marvellous efficaciousness: how could our Lord Jesus Christ not grant ourprayers when we pray for the conversion of sinners, if we have offeredourselves with Him as victims of expiation for their conversion?

Many sinners then are touched with themercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, especially when they see it imitated by thetrue Christians. Think of St Maximilian Kolbe: when he offered himself to takethe place of the man condemned to death in Auschwitz, he imitated Our Lorddying for us in such a marvellous way, many were touched by his example. Seethe efficacy of the prayers of St Thérèse of the Child Jesus! Then they come toOur Lord to obtain his grace and change their lives, receive the mercy of Godand sing His praises for ever. On the other hand, the hardened sinner who didnot want to change his life will have no excuse on Judgement Day: he will notbe able to say to Our Lord: “What did you do for me?” Our Lord Jesus Christwill show him His wounds in his hands and side, and say: “I suffered that foryou! I died on the Cross for you, and yet you would not leave our sins and youwent on further offending me!” To the sinner who says: “God does not mind if wesin”, the Father will answer him: “Look at my Son on the Cross: He suffered tomake up for your sins; how then can you say that God does not mind if we sin?”When a sinner contemplates our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross, makingreparation for the sins that he, the sinner, committed, there is only one thinghe may say, and that is: “Sorry! I am deeply sorry for having been the cause ofso much suffering! I detest my sins; I should be on the cross since I deservedit. Have mercy on me! I don’t want to sin any more. Help me to be faithful. Iaccept whatever penance I need to do on earth, just spare me in eternity, andlet me love and thank Thee for ever!”

This is what the divorced and remarried need to hear: they need tohear the preaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our Lord Jesus Christ crucified!Not only do they need Him, but every one of us: all men need to hear thepreaching of our Lord Jesus Christ crucified: in Him is salvation, in Him isthe Mercy of God. As St Paul says: “God commendeth his charity towards us;because when as yet we were sinners, according to the time, Christ died for us;much more therefore, being now justified by his blood, shall we be saved fromwrath through him” (Rom. 5:8-9). “God, (who is rich in mercy,) for hisexceeding charity wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hathquickened us together in Christ, (by whose grace you are saved,) and hathraised us up together, and hath made us sit together in the heavenly places,through Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:4-6).

Precisely because all men need the graces that flow from theSacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ on His Cross, He instituted the most HolySacrament, the Holy Eucharist, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: so that all mencan be, when they are at the foot of the altar, as if they were at the foot of theCross. It is indeed the same Jesus Christ, Who offered Himself once on theCross, and Who continues to offer His Sacrifice every day at Mass. He does notsuffer anew, but He offers all the sufferings He had once on the Cross. Thesame Body that was offered once on the Cross is really present on the Altar;the same Blood that was shed for us and for many unto the remission of sins isthere present on the Altar, and offered to the Father, begging for mercy formankind. Truly “Ecce Agnus Dei, behold the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sinsof the world”! The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is truly the Sacrament of theMercy of God.

 As the Blessed Virgin Marywas standing at the foot of the Cross, so she is present at every Mass,offering herself with her Son as she did at the foot of the Cross, and helpingus to offer ourselves with her, to become one with Jesus crucified, in order tobecome one with Jesus glorified (see Rom. 8:17). Thus she asks from us that reparation.

 Let us ask her to help us torespond wholeheartedly to her request, to understand the Mercy of God andsacrifice ourselves. How? The very first step, without which there cannot beany true sacrifice, is to renounce sin, to “die to sin and live unto God” (Rom.6:11); the second, which is also necessary, is to strictly avoid the occasionsof sin. The third step is to detach ourselves from worldly things, from earthlythings, from affection to things of earth, to passing pleasures, evenlegitimate ones. Let our heart truly be in Heaven, where our treasure is, JesusChrist our Lord (see Col. 3:1; Mt. 6:21). The last step is that of St Therese:the offering of ourselves with Jesus as victim to the merciful love of God! Andthat can be daily renewed in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

May our Lady grant us to be generous in this offering, for thegreater glory of God and the salvation of many souls! Amen.  

Fr. F. Laisney (sspxasia)