April 19, 2009

A Divine, Merciful Kick Out the Door

The first reading today (Acts 4:32-35), on Divine Mercy Sunday, tells us about the action of the early church. Even the name of the book suggests it: The Acts of the Apostles. In the Gospel reading (Jn 20:19-31) we find the apostles locked away in hiding. Jesus had to show up and get them moving. Jesus sent His Holy Spirit, soon after, to propel them out into the world with the strength and grace to spread the Gospel. That was the first post-resurrection Divine Mercy - taking mercy on the rest of the world by getting the church out of that locked room and down to work!

God's mercy is active; the Spirit He sent to us is alive and working every day in the church. It should be working actively inside each of us. It can be a beautiful, flawless game of telephone (aka whisper-down-the-lane), where we receive God's mercy then pass it along, through our own lives and acts of mercy, to others.

On the Catholic Spiritual Direction blog, a few days ago, I found a very fitting quote from Father Jean-Pierre de Caussade. In his book The Joy of Full Surrender, we read this:
We may know all the theories and understand the explanations of this work in the soul, speak and write about them beautifully, or instruct and direct others; but if this knowledge is only head-knowledge, the professor of it will be like a sick physician compared to simple people who enjoy perfect health, who live and act according to God’s designs and are guided by His holy will, even though they are ignorant of theories.
To put it another way, talking and reading about God by itself is like trying to scratch an itch by thinking about sandpaper. At some point, you have to stop learning and thinking and discussion, and start doing.

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