You know, it sure seems like there is a lot talk and tidbits out there on mercy, forgiveness and Grace. The thing that I find most surprising though, is that how often these wonderful gifts of God are mentioned without the element that they are dependent on – repentance.
Mercy, Grace and Forgiveness are truly magnificent gifts given to us by God himself through Jesus Christ. Jesus took upon the guilt of us all as the sacrificial lamb of atonement for all our sins for all time. There is a catch though, in order to redeem that ticket of forgiveness, Grace and Mercy, we must repent. We must ask for forgiveness. Mercy and forgiveness is freely given to the repentant sinner, but not to the unrepentant. Faith alone really only goes so far. That is because if you truly have Faith, and if you truly Love God, then action and works are absolute.
If one truly has Faith and Loves God, repentance is not a burden, it a release from it. To be saved, we must repent and be born of water and spirit. The waters of baptism will wash away our sin and bring us into the family and friendship of God, but it does require work on our part. Love will spurn actions and works, and those works spurned by Faith and Love of God will then bring about the Kingdom! We are an intimate part of the process, and are works generated by Love and Faith, unite us all in one family. That is why Paul tells us that Love is the greatest of all virtue, because all virtue is born from Love.
I am not talking about the superficial love that is espoused by the world and modern culture today. I am talking about genuine love and charity, which is not emotion or feelings at all, but action. Augustine defined love as willing the good of another. So, the very act of Love as defined by the Catechism of the Church and St. Paul is a work. The greatest example of that work born of love, is Christ on the Cross.
So, as we celebrate and immerse ourselves in God’s Divine Mercy, let us seek forgiveness often in Confession. Let us be cleansed as we hear the words of our absolution. Then we can more fully live and act in the Love of Christ’s Glory and complete the works that will make the world united and whole, because in the end, only Love remains.