I Am Home

“So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him.’”

– Luke 15:20

As you may already know, this year Pope Francis declared it to be the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. It is an invitation for us to not only receive the mercy of God but to share it, to experience it, and most importantly, to live it. Being subject to the Lord’s mercy is more than just forgiveness and sympathy. It goes far beyond that. The mercy of God allows us to experience true peace and pure joy. Mercy is love given freely to us from the Lord. We did not earn it or did anything to deserve it. God chooses to give us mercy because He cares for our wellbeing. All He wants is to bring us joy. This is exactly what we are created for. So that my joy may be in them, and that their joy will be complete. But it is not enough for us to experience this joy through mercy. Mercy is not meant to be contained within us, but to be shared amongst the people that we encounter. This year, the Lord calls all of us to become missionaries of mercy.

 

First, we must learn to openly receive God’s mercy before anything else. Simply put, we cannot give what we don’t have. We must recognize our dire need for God’s mercy. There are many times I fall short in expressing my love for my family. There are many times it’s difficult to forgive those who hurt me. There are many times serving gets tiresome. A specific moment where the Lord allowed me to be a reciprocant of His mercy is through my household. I like to think being accountable for others comes natural for me, however allowing others to be accountable for me is quite foreign to me. For the longest time I carried a closed heart in allowing others to journey with me. Slowly but surely, these walls of insecurities, pride and selfishness begin to break as I allowed my household to pray for me and love me. I began to understand that my sufferings are meant to be shared for the opportunity of allowing others to see Christ. Every missionary is not only called to spread God’s love but to also experience and be that reciprocant of that same love. It’s through these moments He continues to remind me that even the most tangled knots are loosened by God’s grace. It’s through these moments where I see the Lord with eyes fixated towards me with arms spread wide, patiently waiting for me. He meets me where I am. In His mercy, God never tires of stretching out His hands to reach for us. He encourages us to continue our journey with Him, to come back and tell Him our weaknesses, to be reminded that we can only find strength through Him. We are blessed with the opportunity to do exactly that in the sacraments, specifically in the sacrament of Reconciliation. This is the real journey; to walk with God in our sufferings, in our weaknesses, only to be clothed in His sacrificial love and endless mercy. Let’s all be like St. Rose of Lima when she says, “Lord, increase my sufferings, and with them increase Your love in my heart.” Or like St Therese of Lisieux when she says, “How happy I am to see myself imperfect and be in need of God’s mercy.”

 

Once we are able to fully receive His mercy, we are able to bless those around us by being messengers of mercy. This year, I was able to fully comprehend how much I’m in dire need for God’s mercy in my life and how much I am called to acknowledge this same mercy in my family. Our family relationships help us deepen our knowledge and understanding in the virtue of mercy as we cultivate the habits of loving, forgiving and serving one another. Not only the family can be a school of mercy, it also becomes a school of sanctity! A specific moment where my family and I experience God’s mercy is when we went to Montreal last summer. What was supposed to be a family vacation turned into a mini pilgrimage. God presented himself to us so intimately through Mass and Adoration in the cathedrals we visited. It was the first time in awhile I was able to just kneel in wonder and awe of Christ with my family kneeling right next to me in Adoration. I remember my heart filled with so much peace and joy. This is exactly what the Lord wants for us, to experience His joy through His mercy! God calls me to be His ears for my family. He calls me to simply listen to the needs of my family, not merely to commiserate but to present these intentions to the Lord through prayer. How often do we really take the time to listen to one another with intent and purpose? Or to not just wait until the other person is finished talking to give our response but to actually internalize what the other person is saying? It would be very difficult to take someone seriously and journey with them if we are too centered on our own struggles and sufferings. When we pray for our families, it also gives us the opportunity to cleanse our hearts. A clean heart can see God, and if we see God in each other, naturally we will love one another as God loves each of us.

The Lord continues to reveal how he calls me in this Year of Mercy through my family. I was reminded that I didn’t have to look far to give and receive mercy. As much as the Lord calls me to serve my brothers and sisters within and outside the community, I know He calls me to start at home. My first mission area and where I should begin to be an instrument of mercy, is my family. So my brothers and sisters, I challenge you to be a missionary of mercy. While the world is in desperate need for God’s mercy, we don’t have to look far to begin. Let us all be missionaries of mercy right where we live! Where is God calling you to grow in mercy within your family?

I am, and we are missionaries of God’s unfathomable mercy.

Merciful Father, thank You for reminding me that my personal moments of mourning will soon turn to a joyful dance, through the waves of Your endless mercy. An opportunity to receive Your mercy is an opportunity to receive You. May my awaken spirit be a light to others, so that they will no longer see I, but You. Jesus, I trust in You. Amen.

 

 

 

 


Diane Dimacali – Area Head | CFC-Youth Pacific Region