Uniting God's Mercy with Human Mercy

Jesus' attitude toward people was nothing less than forgiving, healing, and merciful.  His compassionate stance with others always advised reconciling with His Father and other people.  How does this translate to our ability to forgive?   

For me, I am grateful.  Christ, who brought me out of the chaos of sin and slavery, redeemed me and the whole world.  This is a gift.  I've learned that the sacrament of confession breaks the bond of sinful slavery and releases my soul to be in union with Christ and His Church.  In this act, I am compelled to partake in the experience of forgiveness by God through Jesus Christ.  Therefore the mercy that Jesus shows other people brings God’s mercy to me.  

But God's mercy is for everyone!

After this experience, what are we to do?  Liberated from the bonds of our own sin, we should express this freedom to others. This expression can be viewed as a charity through our own words and deeds.

The works of mercy in Catholicism are acts of charity and compassion that are done freely without demands of recognition.  We don't look for compensation or even ", Ha, I told you so!"  Actually, we behave with humility while others gawk and scratch their head, wondering why we are charitable.  Here, it’s said that the forgiven have noticeable attributes that extend to people who are sanctioned in sin.  Meaning, that as Christ has shown mercy to us, so do we. 

How do we show this mercy? 

(1) Feed the hungry

(2) Give drink to the thirsty

(3) Clothe the naked

(4) Visit the imprisoned

(5) Shelter the homeless

(6) Visit the sick

 (7) Bury the dead.

 In addition, spiritual works of mercy are all actions alleviating the special emotional and spiritual needs of our neighbor. Mercy emulates God’s loving grace and compassion and is freely bestowed:

(1) Admonish the sinner

(2) Instruct the ignorant

(3) Counsel the doubtful

(4) Comfort the sorrowful

(5) Bear wrongs patiently

(6) Forgive all injuries

(7) Pray for the living and the dead

After we are liberated from our sin, it is the task of every Christian to aid mankind through the gift of God’s mercy, so that Christ the Redeemer may strengthen mankind’s love for one another. 
"God’s mercy makes human love possible."  -Fr. Keenan

Fr. James Keenan summarizes the notion of God’s mercy uniting with mankind in his book entitled,
  The Works of Mercy: The Heart of Catholicism.  His thesis centralizes that human mercy is based on God’s mercy.  Keenan’s insight into mercy as the "willingness to enter into the chaos of others... as an act of mercy where God brought order out of chaos" challenges Christians to consider that when we experience God, through the mercy of His Son Jesus Christ we experience a union with God's plan.  In fact, Corporal and Spiritual works of mercy practiced daily provide an opportunity for God's mercy and human mercy to merge through the Redemption of Jesus Christ.

How hard is it to show mercy towards others?

Can you determine what work you can do as related to the last time you visited the confessional?

CCC 2427


  1. I believe it is more difficult to show mercy or forgive a wrong timely to the injustice. As time passes, it is easier for me to forgive. Interestingly, however, when I am reconciled with God, then mercy flows more readily. That forgiveness given to me lingers in my memory and translates to me allowing that forgiveness to flow through me to others. When weighed down by sin, then it is far more difficult to allow the Lord's forgiveness to flow through me to others. In the end, the more I am forgiven, the more I forgive others and show mercy.

  2. It is usually hard to forgive others even though we understand that we need to be forgiven all the times for our mistakes, small or big.That is because we are human being and we have weakness,fear, and selfishness.When we try to forgive somebody, we remember the bad things the person had done to us;this triggers our negative thoughts about this person, therefore put the anger back onto ourselves without knowing it.We might forgive someone but then put a bad prejudice on the person, then this is not truly forgiveness.By reminding myself of how great it feels and what different it makes when I received grace from God's forgiveness helps me to understand that just like me, others needs forgiveness too. If a powerful and merciful God can forgive me for my great sins, then who I am for not forgiving my brothers and sisters who are all God's children? The works of mercy that I can do is to,first, forgive myself of any negative attitude. Next is try to think positive, be empathetic and understanding to others instead of judging. Remember Jesus had said that we should forgive each other "seventy time seven" times (Mt 18:22. Just like doing exercise,let's begin with small and real goals by practice forgiveness at least once a day with kind attitude.

  3. Immediately after confession I find it easy to be merciful. Because I have been wiped of sin it is easier to be merciful to others. However, if I haven't been to confession in months and I accumulate sin and it sits upon my consciousness I tend to be less merciful to others because of the weight of sin. This awareness of confession setting me free to be merciful didn't show up until my late 30's, about the same time as the first of my five children became teenagers. God sends lessons in the most natural of ways to us all

  4. A few months ago I was blessed to hear a homily on forgiveness. The priest said if Jesus can show forgiveness and mercy to all sinners than who are we to withhold forgiveness towards others. Are we better than Jesus? Of course not. He has shown us the way to forgive. I sat with a relative at this mass who had not been to church in years. After mass we had an opportunity to have a deep discussion on forgiveness. I shared with her how my experience to forgive others is much easier today then in my youth. When I forgive others I set myself free from obsessing over something that if put in perspective, probably is pretty petty. This is not a God centered life. It is not Gods will for my life to be weighed down by an inability to forgive. My life is much richer when I am able to show mercy and forgive others. If I feel my life is being consumed because I need to show forgiveness to someone, but I find it hard at that moment to forgive, all I have to do is walk through the door of a confessional and ask our Lord for forgiveness for my sins. By having my sins forgiven I am obligated to forgive others. I wish I used this tool more often when I was younger.


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