One of my favorite authors, Richard Rohr, a man I have saluted and quoted in a previous blog, recently encouraged readers to ‘awaken’ to mercy toward the suffering around us and to recognize our own need for mercy.
“When you do not know you need mercy and forgiveness yourself, you invariably become stingy in sharing it with others. So make sure you are always waiting with hands widely cupped under the waterfall of mercy.” (Friday, April 1, 2016 cac.org)
His entire blog that day touched my heart in a new way as I look at our political scene, the world stage, individual friends and family members who are suffering–a friend in my dance class diagnosed with cancer, a child we know whose leukemia has returned, another friend with late stage ovarian cancer and on and on, as well as those in poverty and chronic sickness and under persecution in Syria and Iraq and elsewhere.
It is easy to become overwhelmed by the evening news, but we can’t afford to let it bury us. Praying, caring, holding tight to the mercy of God and his infinite love can awaken our hearts and hands.
I’m thinking of three of my adult grandchildren who have put their hands to the plow–one in Peru studying Spanish so she can better serve the underprivileged teens in New York, a grandson studying law so he can work in human rights, and another preparing to serve and study in India this summer.
Like me, you may ask, “What can I do?” One of my early mentors told me that when her active ministry years were over, she wondered what was left for her. The answer came. “Sit in the last pew in church and pray.” That was her new assignment and one she carried out for the rest of her days.
My husband Charles could no longer work or volunteer toward the end of his life but he could pray. And so he did. Every Friday for a few years he stopped at the Mount Hermon Christian Conference Center near our home and sat on a bench and prayed. Wonderful and amazing things occurred in that ministry during those years. I feel certain his prayers contributed to the miracles that occurred in people’s live because of his faithfulness.
A friend of mine used the daily newspaper to gather a list of needs to pray about. More than enough in every issue!
Please consider cupping your hands under the waterfall of mercy and then splashing it onto those who need your prayer–whether or not you know them personally. I promise to do the same.
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:36
An invitation from Thomas Merton:
“Make ready for the Christ, Whose smile, like lightning,
Sets free the song of everlasting glory
That now sleeps in your paper flesh.“
(Thomas Merton, “The Victory,” The Collected Poems of Thomas Merton (New York: New Directions, 1977), 115.