Mercy is love in action

spring borderLast Sunday, I listened to Luke’s version of Jesus’ passion and death. The words that struck me most profoundly were, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.” So spoke Jesus while being murdered; while dying an excruciating death which he didn’t deserve, his prayer is one of forgiveness. How petty I felt in my failure to forgive hurt feelings or slights to my family. How can I justify holding on, ruminating, feeling “righteous” anger, when my wounds are so inconsequential compared to his?

Jesus’ exhortation to us to forgive is not simply for the good of others. Forgiveness, he knows and tries to teach us, benefits us even more. We heal when we forgive others. We grow and discover the joy and happiness we thought someone stole from us.

I know myself. I know I’ll continue to feel umbrage when someone, in my perception, wrongs me. Even more so when they hurt my loved ones. But I hope, through this Lent and the Jubilee Year, I can learn the lessons of mercy that are available to us. May every Good Friday remind me, as I ponder Christ’s suffering, how very small my suffering is and how, with forgiveness, I can reduce it even further.

So how am I doing on forgiving? It’s a process, not a one-time decision. A few recommendations that help me:

  • We should acknowledge the anger and hurt we feel, at least to ourselves. If possible, we should voice it calmly right away to the person who hurt us.
  • Don’t continue to “lick the wound.” Dogs make their sores larger by doing this, and so do we when we dwell or obsess on them. Practice “thought stopping” when you find yourself doing this and instead—
  • Pray for the person who hurt you. Place them in God’s care. Remind yourself you want to be a forgiver.

Here are a few more quotes on mercy and forgiveness from people wiser than I:

Allen Hunt in Everyone Needs to Forgive Somebody:

  • Learn to forgive the small things—with friends, family, or coworkers. Be a person of grace. Don’t dwell on the hurts. Recognize you are still prone to mistakes as you become the-best-version-of-yourself, just as others are.
  • Make a conscious decision to forgive. Resolve today you will be a forgiver. Those who forgive benefit from a better immune system; lower blood pressure; better mental health; lower anger, anxiety, and depression; and enjoy more satisfying and longer-lasting relationships than those unable to forgive.
  • Perform an act of kindness. First do it for anyone. Next week, perform a kind act for someone who has injured you. Being kind to someone who has taken advantage of you prevents you from feeling resentful and can also change his or her heart.
  • Write a letter to someone who has hurt you very much. You may choose to mail it or not, but writing the letter is an important first step toward your healing and the release of the power the person holds over your heart. Express the specific hurt and that you forgive the person.


Fr. Peter Siamoo:

  • Each family member, and therefore each Christian, should seek to reconcile with all the family members, regardless of the magnitude of the hurt, or who was right or wrong. We know that there are some family members who do not talk to each other. Some have been like this for years. The pope’s intention is that this Jubilee Year should not end while leaving this ungraced state of the family members unchanged.
  • Develop devotion and a habit of praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet daily. ( ) Read the promises which our Lord gave to St. Faustina Kowalska. Our Lord said to her as she writes in her diary, “It should be of no concern to you how anyone else acts; you are to be My living reflection, through love and mercy. … As for you, be always merciful toward other people, and especially toward sinners.”
  • Extend God’s mercy to anyone who needs it, anyone who has hurt you at any time of your life, whether that person is alive or dead. Forgive without any condition.
  • Be humble enough to ask for forgiveness from those whom you have hurt in any way. If they don’t accept your apology it is not your problem, it is their problem, just pray for them that they may discover the beauty of forgiveness and the joy and peace that come from it so that they may have enough courage to forgive.
  • Reach out to the family and group members whom you know are struggling with forgiveness. Seek to be the reason and agent of family reconciliation, peace, and prayer.
  • Be active in the ministry to the poor and vulnerable in your community to extend God’s mercy and love to them.


Pope Francis:

  • Mercy is not only an action of the Father; it becomes a criterion for ascertaining who his children are. In short, we are called to show mercy because mercy has first been shown to us. Pardoning offenses becomes the clearest expression of merciful love, and for us Christians it is an imperative from which we cannot excuse ourselves. Let go of the hurt, entrust it to the Lord and from the forgiving heart sincerely pray for that person.
  • Wherever the Church is present, the mercy of the Father must be evident. In our parishes, communities, associations and movements, in a word, wherever there are Christians, everyone should find an oasis of mercy.



And perhaps two of the simplest quotes, which encompass the others:

  • Mercy is love in action.   – Fr. Donald Calloway MIC
  • Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Matthew 5:7


Thank you for welcoming my thoughts—and other authors’ wisdom—into your email and your lives throughout Lent. I hope you’ve enjoyed and grown from at least one of these writings.

Happy, blessed Easter!





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