Thursday, June 27, 2013



Photo: R. Massaro (c)2013SpiritSinging

Byzantine Cultural Center Clev. Oh.

In the news, or in personal conversations, I often hear the phrase, "They will have to answer to God," referring to people who commit crimes and seem to "get away with it." The people who make this statement seem to be seeking justice for a person or situation. Some people who make this statement claim they are seeking justice, but perhaps if we look deeper, this type of thinking can be nothing more than a mentality of revenge. 

Yes, of course, we will all be judged in the end.  But if we spend our lives thinking, "yeah, you'll get yours in the end for what you've done to me-"-this is not the heart of a merciful person.  A person who is filled with God's mercy for his neighbor would pray for his neighbor's conversion.  And this is where St. Therese's teaching on hidden spirituality comes into my thinking on this subject.

St. Therese teaches us to hide our works of mercy and charity so that they are only seen by our Father in heaven.  If someone wrongs us, why do we immediately have to tell someone about it? Why can't we keep these things hidden?-forever!  It is our weak human nature and our ego that we have to overcome to let go of the opportunities to let someone else know that we've been taken advantage of or wronged in some way. If we want to be perfect, we must follow St. Therese's way of spiritual childhood and die to ourselves in little ways. This can build up our strength in the virtues. So,when we have the opportunity to correct someone, follow the path of humility and let it go (unless it's of important nature and must be corrected). Let us give up our critical spirit that loves to point out the faults and failings of others. 

If someone said something hurtful to St. Therese, she wouldn't repeat it. She would keep it hidden in her heart.  We only have to see her imitation of Mary, our Mother, who kept ALL things hidden in her heart (Luke 2:19). 

 Jesus, tortured and crucified-hanging on the Cross showed the depth of the mercy of his Sacred Heart, asking the Father, "Forgive them, they know not what they do."  Are we able to imitate the heart of Jesus by being a living fountain of mercy, ready to forgive our neighbor? Are we able to pray the great prayer of  heart that has the purest of intentions?:  "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." Are we able to step out into the deep?, into the abyss of mystical charity, asking the Lord, "Please, do not even remember this when you judge them."

Recently, our Holy Father made the statement that "It is wrong to think that our enemies must go to hell."  Yes, this teaching is coming from the Holy Spirit through our Holy Father.  He went on to say, It’s so hard to forgive others, it is really difficult because we always have that regret inside,” he said.
“We think ‘you did this to me, you wait … I’ll repay him the favor.'”

Yes, we will all have to answer to God at the end of our life. But we won't have to answer for the actions of our neighbor, we will have to answer for our self.  As St. John of the Cross stated, "In the evening of life, we will be judged on love."  If we have been merciful, mercy will be shown to us. If we ask the Lord to forgive and forget the sins of those who wronged us, he will forget our sins-casting them into the ocean of his merciful love.

You have preserved my life from the pit of destruction, when you cast behind your back all my sins. 
(Isaiah 38:17)

St. Maria Goretti, whose feast day is fast-approaching on July 6, prayed for her killer on her deathbed, saying, " I forgive him and want him to be with me in paradise."  Let us strive to imitate the lives of the saints by forgiving and forgetting the sins of others. This is only possible by living a life of prayer and practicing the virtues, especially humility.  

Let us be ready to "answer to God" by saying, "Yes, Lord, I have sinned without number, please be merciful to me, a sinner."

Let us pray for each other.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

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