This year has been more of a rough and tumble into the Triduum than most years, though I suspect that the years to come will be similar in style. As I write this, we are in the three hours of agony and are, as Christians and Catholics, encouraged to take some time to meditate and reflect on this time that Jesus was on the cross. My cell phone is off, my babies are resting, and I am writing because it is my best method of focus.
It’s easy for me to think of Mercy and how I need to have it for others; how we need to have it for the world and for our opponents and enemies. But today I have been contemplating my biggest opponent in need of Mercy: myself.
“For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”
This meditative prayer comes from The Chaplet of The Divine Mercy, and today marks the beginning of the Divine Mercy Novena. It is strong on my heart these days, and can be said as part of the rosary-based prayer or on its own. It is repeated 50 times throughout the chaplet, “emphasized in this way as it reminds us over and over again of our reliance on the saving action of Jesus. We cling to God’s mercy not because of our own actions but because Jesus acts on our behalf. In repeating these words we learn to trust Jesus more deeply.” (reference)
My everyday actions illustrate a complete lack of trust in Jesus. I am distracted by my work, by my family, by my own thoughts and fears and insecurities. And I worry, as much as I tell myself not to worry, but I do. As much as I want to be a Mary, I’m a total Martha. I’m a Martha who wants to love people and serve them but finds herself too busy and in nonstop motion to stop and look around. I’m a Martha who lets insecurities hijack her abilities and lets fear dominate her good intentions. I’m a Martha who loves, a lot and without end, but hides when worried or scared or nervous or prideful. I have failed many a friend and sister. I have hurt and let down people that I love, dearly, and pushed them away. I have let others opinions of me, even if they’re just in my head, dominate my thoughts and paralyze my nature. I hide, a lot. I am prideful and insecure and greedy and forgetful and selfish and materialistic and I take people I love for granted. I am sensitive, yet callous in reaction to my fears.
Yet, somehow, I have Grace. I have a life that is full of blessings and every day I am given a glimpse of heaven with the love I have surrounding me. And on today, this most beautiful and sorrowful of days, I am humbled. Any good in me is by and from Christ. Anything lacking is because I need Christ. Today, we mourn for the sorrow and sufferings of a man who so dearly loved us that he was prepared to die for us, for me. I mourn my own humanity that murdered this man, this innocent.
As someone who avoids the daily news and details of tragedy, I can fully understand how some fellow Christians don’t like to focus on the crucifixion. I’ve had dear friends wonder why we would put so much effort and contemplation into the sin and sadness, when from it Christ made all things new. As my son told me this week (and yes, I wept), “Jesus opened the gates of Heaven, Mommy!” But to me, they go hand in hand. To fully appreciate the beauty of the resurrection and to fully value life, we must grieve death and face our part in it. It only makes this Sunday morning more joyful, more beautiful, and more meaningful.
I accept my shortcomings, but I commit to a lifetime of battling them and finding the good in what the world sees as weak or silly. I commit to a lifetime of fighting the fear I have about others’ opinions of me, and to instead turn my gaze to those who don’t have anyone to think of them. I commit to a lifetime of trying to live and love in a way that honors the life that was given for me. And I am thankful for the daily opportunity for such awesome Grace, and the unconditional love and forgiveness that comes with it.
“Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion — inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.”