CANTICLE OF DIVINE MERCY

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‘To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are  enthroned in the heavens! As the eyes of servants look to the  hand of their master, as the  eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the  Lord our  God, until he has mercy upon us. Have mercy  upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us’ (Ps 123:1-3). 

This was the prayer of  those who sought mercy from God. They did not withdraw their eyes from the Lord until the Lord  heeded their prayers. In other words, they never encouraged the  view that God will act the next moment of  receiving their supplication. They knew that  God had an appointed time to  show His  mercy. Their only option was to  continue their prayers till  that time.

It is true that since the  revelations St Faustina received from Jesus, many have started  to meditate on Divine Mercy seriously. It is also true that  mercy is one of the  major attributes of God.  From creation to man’s fall, promise of sending a redeemer, sacrifice of Jesus, and  to our days where ‘the  ends of the ages have come’ (1 Cor 10:11) and further to the ‘consummation of all things’ the prime mover of  God’s actions was nothing  but His fathomless  mercy.

But there are certain impediments that  block the free flow of Divine Mercy into us, the major one being  a hardened heart. Indifference to divine matters, resistance to the call of  the Holy Spirit to repent, continuing in  sin ignoring the fact that the time to repent is short, wasting the  opportunities to do acts of reparation for past sins, and showing no remorse even at the  time of  death are all expressions of   a hardened heart.

It is  not a cause of justification that we were  standing too close to the  cross. The Scripture itself  testifies that  being  placed near to the cross in itself does not guarantee any benefit to us.  Of those to criminals who were crucified with Jesus, one has gone  to Paradise with the Lord. We do not read  that the  other man  was as fortunate as his  friend. They were placed in identical situations. Both were crucified  so  close to the   cross of Jesus where the sacrifice of Jesus the  Passover Lamb for  all mankind was to be accomplished. Of them  one person received God’s Mercy. As for the  second man the issue was not   the absence of Divine Mercy  but he was ‘storing up wrath for himself on the day of wrath, when God’s  righteous  judgment will be revealed, by his hard and impenitent heart’ (Rom 2:5). Just imagine how hardened was his heart that  resisted the call to repent even at the hour of death!

It was not a parable from Jesus, but the  live recording of  the final hours of  a man who failed to open the  doors of his heart so that God’s mercy could envelop him. If it happened then, it can happen today also.  If it happens in the  case of a criminal, it can  happen in our lives too.

Yes, God has opened the floodgates of  Divine Mercy to envelop each one of us in it. But what  benefit does it bring to a person who  keeps himself away from its channel? ‘Listen!  I am standing at the  door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to  you and eat with you, and you with me’ (Rev 3:20). Jesus repeats these words now also. He knocks at our door to give us  the gift of  Divine Mercy. And its purpose is to  lead us to repentance. ‘Do you not   realize that   God’s  kindness is meant to  lead you to  repentance?’ (Rom 2:4).

Let us pray that  our hearts never become hard to the extent of resisting the flow of  Divine Mercy into us. Let us also  pray for the grace  to  continue  our prayers until God has mercy upon us.

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