"Father of Mercies" was the theme for our Lenten holiness retreat held March 4-6. Six young women joined us for a beautiful weekend which included an outstanding meditation from Fr. Anthony Gerber, priest of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, as well as talks from our Sr. Mary Elizabeth of the Divine Heart of Mercy. Read some of her reflections on God's merciful love...
One of the most profound truths I encounter every day is that of God’s great mercy. I am not a Sister because I knew I was holy enough to be one. I am a Sister because, although I am a miserable sinner, I am and have been a recipient of God’s great mercy, unworthy though I be. Encountering God’s mercy in the midst of our brokenness and sinfulness is never easy. Part of us wants to run away and hide, like the little child who fully knows he took and broke one of Daddy’s tools without permission! After all these years we are still like that little child! It all goes back to Adam and Eve in the garden, who also hid themselves from God. When I was younger, I used to think of God walking through the Garden of Eden, trying to find Adam and Eve in a booming, angry voice… “Where ARE you?!!” Maybe you did too! Let’s change the tone of voice for a moment…to that of a loving Father and a little child. There will be consequences, but ultimately there is the love between the Father and the son. Right in the midst of our sin, God simply wants to love us and allow us ask for forgiveness that He is already waiting to give. God asks us the very same question in the midst of our sin, with a longing ache in his Heart, “Where are you?” He calls out to us to ask us to come home to Him.
We just can’t stand showing God the weakest part of ourselves! When it comes to Confession, sometimes it still is difficult to admit our failures out loud. I have to smile, though, when I ponder this. At the same time we fear God’s mercy, we greatly desire it as well. How many of us haven’t felt the true peace and joy of the Holy Spirit after a good Confession? We LOVE being forgiven! We LOVE being free! We LOVE being…well, LOVED! It is as if God is looking on us when we hide away in our shame, like a loving Father, saying to us, “My Little One…Don’t you think I have already seen what you have done? You don’t ever have to hide from Me. Come to Me, come to Me quickly and receive mercy! I ache to pour it upon you that My very Sacred Heart is burning with the flames of merciful love!”
When we accept God’s mercy trustingly and willingly, we honor Jesus’ greatest act…His Passion, Death, and Resurrection. This was done for our sins to bring us home to heaven with Him one day. It was done for YOU and for ME. We give God glory when we simply accept His mercy without question or conditions. Even if He knows we will fail again and again, He just loves when we get up from our falls and run to Him like a little child. Be not afraid of the God who knows you already. Be not afraid of the merciful heart that asks you, “My child, will you let me just love you?” In this year of Mercy, let us say with full heart, Jesus I trust in You!