As Catholics we hear and talk a lot about Mercy…and well we should. Mercy is the preeminent quality of God. God is Mercy. The first saint to be canonized this century, St. Faustina, is God’s messenger of Mercy.
Is this the millennium of Mercy? I believe it is.
But God is also perfect Justice. We often think of justice as the opposite of mercy, but in reality it’s a critical component of it. Without Justice, without redressing evil doers, there is no mercy for their innocent victims.
To understand this we need to accept the reality of evil in the world. If there was anything made clear in the 20th century, as well as in the first 20 years of this one, is that evil exists. To deny that is to deny reality…which of course has become a rather popular past time—or perhaps more accurately, cultural imperative these days.
We are living in unprecedented times when right is wrong, wrong is right and fear seems to pervade every aspect of our lives. Fear is of course an emotion, but can be used as a tool of control—hence a grave evil we must counter through prayer and acts of faith.
But lately we cry out for justice, as well we should. Yes, we continue to pray for conversions, even of the most wicked on the world stage. Anything is possible with God. But the sad reality is that many have chosen their path and are hell-bent on destroying anything and everyone that represents goodness. We are witnessing an all—out war against God and anything truly good and holy. Many surely must be brought to justice.
So, how do we balance imploring God’s mercy while also praying for His justice?
Here are a few thoughts:
First, make a good confession.
Be brutally honest about your own sins and shortcomings. Recall God’s immense mercy to you in forgiving your worst sins. Humble yourself before the Lord.
Get your anger in check.
It is completely understandable, and even perhaps somewhat admirable, if you feel outrage at the injustices and crimes against humanity that are becoming more and more evident. To see the magnitude of injustices committed on a local or global scale can be overwhelming. But vengeance belongs to God and this is an easy trap the devil sets for us to inflame our anger out of rational control. It’s easy to feel completely justified to hate or even take matters into our own hands and take action or retaliate. That is not God’s way…and it can’t be ours. Wait on the Lord. Trust Him and He will act.
Implore God’s will in the world.
God is infinitely more offended and outraged at man’s inhumanity to man than we are. He can change it in the blink of an eye. It may seem like a mystery that He doesn’t… but His ways are so far above our ways. We have to wait patiently for Him to act and/or to give us clear direction on what legitimate action to take ourselves. Remember, God’s will WILL be done. He has reasons for delays—perhaps to give time for those who will be converted to be saved…or to set the stage for a larger take down of evil doers. In everything that He allows, He is working out His perfect plan…and is orchestrating even the actions of the most reprehensible evil to be turned for good. Pray the Our Father slowly and mean it- that His Kingdom come and that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Seek to live in God’s holy will.
It’s easy to ask for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, as long as we can still do things our way in our own lives, right? But ultimately, God’s will cannot be done on earth if we’re all pulling in our own directions. It’s imperative that we seek God’s will on a daily basis on the big decisions and even the smaller ones in our lives. What serves God the best? How can we bring God to others on a daily basis?
Monitor how you react when things don’t go your way. Do you handle disappointments or unexpected circumstances with equanimity, or do you rail against them? Of course, you’re human and you may not always be able to control how you feel, but you can control how you respond to things. Too many people throw in the towel on faith because the things they want or expect don’t happen. Try to imagine yourself in a live theatre production…as the twists and turns occur, follow along with trust that the playwright has a good plot.
Here’s why I remain hopeful. Our Lady of Fatima in 1917 asked for the Pope to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart. She said if that wasn’t done, Russia would spread her errors (plural), but she assured us that in the end her Immaculate Heart would triumph. The consecration wasn’t properly accomplished until 1984 by St. John Paull II. Clearly Russia’s errors had spread, with communism and Nazism annihilating more people in the 20th century than all other centuries combined.
According to Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR, the errors spread from Russia were communism and, quite notably, abortion, Russia being the first country to legalize abortion on November 18, 1920…one hundred years ago. Over one century, legalized abortion spread to 100 countries and claimed over one billion lives, making abortion the worst holocaust in all of human history.
The century Pope Leo XIII saw that satan would have free reign to destroy the Church seems to have come to a close, if indeed the “error” of legalized abortion is an indicator. Hence, it seems to me the Triumph is near…and the events we see ratcheting up are the last gasps of the devil as he is being trounced. He’s making a lot of noise and coming out of the shadows now. Why would he do that if he were winning?
Take heart. Heed the messages of Fatima. Pray the rosary, turn from sin and have faith. No matter what chaos is going on, God remains on His throne. God remains in control. Let’s place our steadfast trust in Him and His plan. Do your part. Pray. Fast. Spread the gospel.
God wins. Promise.
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