Forgiveness-Reconciliation - OL- GS Carisma

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Today we open ourselves to an experience of God’s mercy using the image of rain: a soft rain, which waters the earth with love, transforming and fertilizing it.

You might like to begin by listening to a song by Chris Tomlin "Let your Mercy Rain"

All of us know how water turns into rain. The sun gives its warmth to creation; it heats the water in the seas, rivers, lakes and ponds and turns it into vapour. Vapour rises and turns into clouds. If the temperature is low, the clouds will turn into water, which falls and moistens the earth, becoming what we call rain: a blessing for the earth.

What does rain mean to me?

If Rain is capable of giving us so much life, reflect on how much life it will give us if this rain is imagined as a "rain of Mercy". It is about letting it flow in all our relationships of mercy and in all creation.

Let a "flood" of images of faces from our wounded world stream before you; faces that need to be noticed and touched with mercy.  

In what way do you think the Earth community (human and "other-than-human") needs your mercy?

In the Old Testament, there is a rich variety of scripture revealing the connections between the Jewish people and creation, as well as with God in creation. Yahweh is the one who puts new energy into God’s creation. Yahweh is the one who can make the rain fall (Jr 10: 13; Job 36: 27; Ps. 65: 10) and prevents it from falling (Dt 11: 17).

Yahweh’s Word is able to transform life and make it fertile and fruitful: "For just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful… So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth… it shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it." (Is 55: 10-11)

In the New Testament, we see how Jesus is in very close contact with nature. It is enough to listen to him talk. For him, one can listen to the Creator through the simplicity and beauty of nature. As God cares for the birds of the air, so God is a good Father who only knows how to give good things to God’s people. (Mt 6:26).

No doubt, Jesus knew how to enjoy the sun and the rain, for he readily used this comparison to talk about the mercy of his Father, who "makes the sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust." (Mt 5: 45).

Throughout the Gospels, we can hear Jesus frequently inviting us to give preference to Mercy in our relationships. He sometimes adds that this mercy needs to be like that of our Father (Lk 6: 36), but… What is  the Father’s mercy like? Jesus tried to answer this question by sharing beautiful, moving and disconcerting parables. (cf Mt 20: 1-16 Parable of the Vineyard Labourers;  Lk 10: 29-37 Parable of the Good Samaritan).

Recall a parable of the Father’s mercy: it may be the one of "the Prodigal son and the Merciful Father" (Lk 15:11-32).  The father does not impose his authority but accepts the free decision of his son. He is always there to welcome him back without reproach, to cover him with kisses and to show his love and tenderness. The Mercy of this good father can lift his son out of his misery, restore dignity and reconcile.

How am I allowing myself to experience God’s mercy in my life?  

Let us take some moments to remember how Mercy has "moistened / rained" in our lives: moments when we have experienced the tender embrace of God the "Mother-Father’s" Mercy. Imagine that these loving gifts are like drops of water that God our "Mother-Father" rains on your story and on all the creation. God wants these drops of rain to shower over the earth and to create streams of life that will ensure the "greening"
of all life.  

Saint John Eudes and Saint Mary Euphrasia also experienced and shared this Mercy.  Saint John Eudes, in his preaching, transmitted to us his great sensitivity for the poor: "That person is merciful who carries compassionately in his/her heart the miseries of those who are suffering."
 St. John Eudes also said that a person is merciful when he/she has a great desire to help those in need and makes this desire the driving force of his/her actions.

Saint Mary Euphrasia’s understanding of God’s merciful love is most profound when she contemplates the love of Jesus the Good Shepherd.  Responding to her own question "How in fact do Good Shepherds act? ", she reflects that:  "Good shepherds give their lives for their sheep They forget themselves and often have to endure hunger and thirst.  They are crushed by fatigue and difficulties- no matter!  They are happy if the sheep do not suffer.  If they find any who are lost, what trouble they take to lead the flock to good pastures!
 On another occasion she repeats her focus on mercy expressed as loving: "I had no money, no talents nor any outward appeal; I just loved our girls always, and I loved them with all the strength of my soul."

Give yourself time to talk with St. John Eudes and St. Mary Euphrasia:

Ask them to tell you about their experiences of Mercy.

What calls/challenges do you discover in this dialogue?

You might like to conclude with the following prayer:

Lord, you show compassion to us, poor human beings. Offer me your mercy, so that I become merciful towards myself and have a merciful heart for those who cannot accept themselves as they are. I long for a more merciful world than ours, which can be so intolerant.

Make the spirit of Mercy enter more deeply into my heart, so that my soul can grow. May I, with a spirit enlarged by Mercy, invite the people around me to see and look kindly on the entire Earth community.

If you wish, you can go into Supplementary Tools to deepen your reflection with photos, videos etc.

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