Jul 5, 2013

Mercy’s Effect on Pride

 “Give us True Knowledge of your Mercy [Lord] so that we may renounce our pride…” (From first Psalm Prayer morning prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours for Wednesday Week One)
At first it seems strange to suggest that simply having knowledge of the Mercy of Our Lord is a remedy for the sin of pride. We already know from many sources that the opposite of pride is humility. We often pray for the virtue of humility when we find ourselves becoming prideful in daily living. So, how does knowledge of His Mercy bring us to the virtue of humility? In the book Diary of St Faustina, Sister Faustina tells of numerous appearances by Jesus asking her to establish a worldwide devotion to His inexhaustible Mercy toward sinners. Our Lord went to great lengths to educate her on His Mercy and the desire for all of us to understand it. A simple Polish nun in a war torn country carried His request and we now have numerous devotions to God’s Mercy, a miracle!
In recent weeks Pope Francis has repeatedly brought up God’s Mercy at his daily Mass homilies. In the book Francis: Pope of a New World written by a Catholic journalist who knows the Holy Father in his past roles as priest, bishop, archbishop and cardinal tells how the new Pope preached about God’s Mercy towards sinners. One example is Bishop Bergoglio’s advice to his priests concerning confession. He advised them to go into the confessional and be neither rigorists nor laxest.  “The rigorist is someone who applies the norm and nothing else: the law is the law, period. The laxest will set it aside; it is not important.” The problem, explained the future pope, “is that neither one cares about the person in front of him” So what does he advise? “Be merciful.”
From a Polish nun to Pope John Paul II (Divine Mercy Sunday) and now Pope Francis, God has gone to extraordinary effort to teach us about His Mercy. So, how does knowledge of His Mercy bring us to the virtue of humility? Well if we earnestly meditate and grow as disciples through the great mercy of God then how could we not be humbled and motivated to work to remove all pride from our hearts.