If there is anything that God is, it is merciful. Many times, mercy is a really hard concept for us to grasp. We have a hard time forgiving people who have hurt us ,and we have a hard time forgiving ourselves when we mess up. I am glad to say that God is not like that! God is willing to forgive others when they hurt us or when they hurt Him. He is willing to forgive us when we go completely against His will and we act really stupid. How can He do this you say? Well, I asked that very same question about five years ago in my high school’s chapel.
I was kneeling in one of the back pews in the school chapel, and I was praying and asking God how He could still love me even though I had sinned so many times. I knew that God could forgive my sins and I knew that He already did, but I wanted to know how. As I was kneeling, I heard the door behind me open, and I realized that a nun from the convent attached to my school had walked in. Usually I would hear someone who came into the chapel just walk through, or at least walk past me. I had put my head down, but I noticed that I did not hear her footsteps. I soon realized that she was standing in the aisle next to the pew I was in. I looked up and over at her and all she said was “He loves you.” I was left in a moment of shock as she continued on her way towards the front of the chapel where she sat in a pew to pray. I did not think that she would have been able to hear my prayer from where she would have been standing when I had quietly asked God this question. For all I know maybe she heard me, but I still to this day do not think that she did. She sat and prayed in her pew for a few moments and came back towards the back of the chapel. She again stopped by my pew and she gave me a devotional card with the Divine Mercy image on the front of it: http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/image.php. On the back was the instructions on how to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. I was familiar with this chaplet, but I was amazed at what had just transpired. I really felt like God had spoken to me. It was not until the next year that I made the full connection of what God was trying to tell me that day.
I was recalling this story to write about it for a talk I was going to give at a high school retreat with my youth group. I realized that God was trying to tell me that He can forgive me of my sins because of His Divine Mercy. Now I am sure many of you may be thinking, “No, duh?” But to me, this was a strong message that I felt like God was trying to convey to me. I have to frequently remind myself of this even now. Sometimes I get caught up in thinking how horrible I can be or that my sin is so horrible that I completely lose the peace that comes with Jesus’ mercy. When I sit and reflect upon His mercy, I come to a peaceful understanding that God still loves me and wants to be with me and forgive me when I have done something wrong. When we repent, Jesus forgives us instantaneously, without hesitation. I have heard the saying that God never tires of forgiving us, but that we just get tired of asking for forgiveness. In my own life I know this to be true, but it is only because of God’s Divine Mercy that it can be this way.
God forgives us when we repent, it is just that plain and simple. The key is that we repent (meaning to have remorse for our sins, confess our sins, and turning away from these sins) We all fail and we all have our moments of weakness. God knows this, and though He does not like our sin, He loves us and He always willingly forgives us. Jesus came to die on the cross to redeem us of our sins. God gave us His only Son to be the Sacrifice for our sins (Jesus never sinned, so He only died for our sins out of love for us). If God is willing to do that for us, I certainly think that He wants us to ask Him to be forgiven of our mistakes so that we can live with Him in the fullness of His love and Presence.
In my first post on this blog I mentioned Saint Faustina who was directed by Our Lord to make the Chaplet of Divine Mercy known to others and to try to get Divine Mercy Sunday celebrated in the church, which she was able to do with the Lord’s guidance and protection (it is the Sunday after Easter Sunday). This chaplet is beautiful and a wonderful way to reflect on the sufferings of Christ from which God’s mercy is poured out. I encourage everyone to pray this chaplet. You don’t have to be Catholic to pray it, you don’t even need to be a Christian. I encourage everyone to say this chaplet because it will only draw you nearer to God, and even though you may be unsure of Him or of His mercy, you will find that through this devotion (and prayer in general) those doubts will fade away and you will be able to trust in God’s mercy. I know that I need to start saying this more. From experience, though, I know that through this chaplet you will be blessed bypraying it. In what specific ways you will be blessed, that is for God to decide, but I know that only good can come of it.
How to say Chaplet of Divine Mercy: http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/praythechaplet.php
Promises of the Divine Mercy Chaplet: http://www.divinemercy.org/chaplet-of-divine-mercy/78-the-promises-of-jesus-to-those-who-pray-the-chaplet.html
I realize that the links are not coming up correctly. Just copy and paste them into your address bar and they will take you right to The Divine Mercy website and Divine Mercy Apostolate Worldwide website! Thanks 🙂
Scripture about Mercy and Forgiveness:
1 John 1:7-10
Matthew 6: 14-15
John 3: 16-17
Hebrews 4: 14-16
(I’d love to hear from you guys in the comments about what you think!)