- Having experienced forgiveness ourselves, we must forgive others in turn. This is our fundamental vocation: ‘You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect’.
- “One of the essential characteristics of this vocation to perfection is the love of our enemies, which protects us from the temptation to seek revenge and from the spiral of endless retaliation. Jesus placed special emphasis on this aspect of the Christian testimony. Those who evangelise must therefore be first and foremost practitioners of forgiveness, specialists in reconciliation, experts in mercy.
- May the Lord deign to ‘strengthen your hearts in holiness, that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints’. Reconciliation, forgiveness, love and peace! Amen”.
To sum up, the reception of mercy is possible only when this is, by grace, met with the desire also to show mercy. Those who are evangelized are in that very fact becoming evangelizers themselves.
The image above reminds me of part of the pre-Conclave speech of Cardinal Bergoglio to the Cardinal electors. This is my translation from a guest post on TSW, “Pope Francis and The Judas Crisis.”
“The Church, when she is self-referential, without being aware of this, believes to have her own light; she ceases to be the “mysterium lunae” [the mystery of the moon (which reflects the light of the sun, that is, the Son)] and gives way to that ever so serious evil which is spiritual worldliness (according to De Lubac, the worst evil into which the Church can run amuck): that living so as to give glory to one another. Put simply, there are two images of the Church:  the evangelizing Church which surges forth from herself, “Dei Verbum religiose audiens et fidente proclamans” [religiously listening to God’s Word and faithfully proclaiming], or  the worldly Church, living within herself, by herself, for herself. This must shed light on the possible changes and reforms to be accomplished for the salvation of souls.”
Bickering, sniping, smashing others down into the dirt just to do it… that is not the way. He’s right. This is about evangelizing with mercy, making evangelizers of mercy in every way possible, using every means possible, reaching out to souls who are not in our pews, wherever they are, right around the world. He’s right. This is about the joy of the reception of mercy and the joy of bringing this mercy to others.
But know this, reprimanding those who need to be brought into line for the sake of mercy is a great mercy. A very great mercy.