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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, April 30, 2015
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Rock and Refuge
with Fr. Roy Cimagala

Our sinfulness
should trigger Mercy

Yes, that's right. Evil and our sinfulness should occasion love instead of getting us stuck in horror and anger, and sinking us in hatred or self-pity. Obviously, evil is evil and should be avoided, unloved and atoned for. But we should never fail to make it draw us to the dynamics of love whose supreme act is mercy.

This is how God has dealt with us who are all sinners. He sent his Son to us out of mercy. The Son became man and fully revealed the true nature and love of God for us. Out of this great love and mercy of God for us, he finally offered his life on the cross to set us free from sin.

This should also how we have to deal with our own individual selves when we sin, and with one another when others sin. We have to train ourselves in this regard. Instead of running away from God in fear or shame when we sin, let's rush to him who will always be forgiving. Instead of wasting time lamenting over our sinfulness and that of others, let's be quick to give the mercy of God to ourselves and to others.

As Pope Francis said in his document, Misericordiae vultus (The face of mercy), mercy is who God is, who we are and what brings us together.

“Mercy: the word reveals the very mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Mercy: the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us. Mercy: the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of every person who looks sincerely into the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the path of life. Mercy: the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to a hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness.”

In so many words, the Pope is telling us that mercy is the be-all and end-all of our existence. Mercy, of course, is a great mystery that can somehow be fathomed to the extent that we identify ourselves more closely with God in whose image and likeness we have been created.

We need to develop it and grow in it, taking advantage of the daily events and circumstances of our life. For certain, we have to prepare ourselves for the pain and suffering that will be involved in this endeavour.

In pursuit of mercy, we cannot help but to deny ourselves. Our pursuit for mercy cannot be separated from our effort to identify ourselves with Christ. And Christ told us to that follow him, we have to deny ourselves and carry the cross.

The cross can be the pain and suffering involved in going beyond our human limitations and weaknesses so we can conform ourselves to the supernatural life of God that is meant for us. It can also be the pain and suffering in tackling our sinfulness and its effects and consequences in us.

All this pain and suffering that we have to go through have already been taken up by Christ himself in his passion and death. This ultimate manifestation of his love and mercy for us has taken away the sting of our sin and death and converted it into the way of our salvation, if we also suffer and die with him.

We need to appreciate more deeply the wisdom of this divine logic and way of dealing with our sinfulness. By suffering and dying with Christ, there is no evil and sin that cannot be forgiven.

We can also say that by suffering and dying with Christ, we will be creating a general atmosphere of love and mercy that will be the best antidote for all the sins of men and their ugly consequences—conflicts and division, envy, greed, pride, vanity, etc.

There will be greater harmony and understanding for one another in spite of our unavoidable differences and mistakes. Wounds, personal or social, will be healed or at least, their deterioration arrested.

The world today is in great need of mercy. Our differences and conflicts are escalating precisely because people are drifting away from God. They are pursuing their own ideas of truth, goodness and justice, when all of these come from God and can be known and lived only in God.

We are getting away from the ultimate fact that all truth, goodness and justice are summarized in the mercy of God that is shown to us in Christ, and now taught and dispensed by the Church.

It really would be nice if in the face of all our problems and sinfulness, we would be quick to ask for God's mercy and to give it to one another.*


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