Monday, April 16, 2012
Acts of Mercy
I have been trying to think of a way to phase back into blogging. It has been such a long time since I wrote. Chari has been carrying the blog while also working a more-than-part-time job and taking care of the normal work-load of homeschooling a sizeable family. Meanwhile I have been busy, too, taking care of various things, but mostly just working on catching up emotionally with all that has happened in the past few months.
Anyway, I have been thinking a lot about Divine Mercy, even though I have to say I didn't manage the novena this year, despite it being conveniently posted on my own blog by my own friend. All during my Mom's last days and after her passing, I was very aware of mercy and how it shows in little things in everyday life. And another good friend reminded me that the Divine Mercy chaplet itself is a work of mercy particularly when said for the sick and dying. So I was saying many chaplets during that holy season of my Mom's last days.
The bracelet in the picture is one I have been wearing constantly as a reminder of mercy. A woman came up to me during my Mom's memorial service and gave me the bracelet while introducing herself. She told me that she had been in an abusive marriage. She was from Alaska but was living in the States with no way to return. When she decided to leave the dangerous situation she was in, she said, my mom and another woman drove up through Alaska to Canada to bring her and her young daughters back home to start a new life away from danger and cruelty.
The bracelet reminds me of how solid mercy is and yet how gratuitous, how beautiful even if small and contained. This woman did not have to make this bracelet and bring it to me, someone she had not met, and tell me this story about my mom. It was an act of caring and yet at the same time of reciprocity. Because she had been given something at a time of need, she in turn gave something. In turn, I know, my Mom reached out to this woman because she had been given something from others and ultimately from her Lord.
Looking at how the individual beads make a pattern reminds me of how little ordinary acts can be part of a larger pattern of grace, how mercy perpetuates and weaves in and out of daily lfe.
No human act of mercy can fill the insatiable hunger we are all born with, which can only be satisfied by God, but it can be a token, a sign of an ecology beyond the natural one.
It's different from a bargain, where we give something in order to get something equivalent in return. God gave us His Son, not because He owed it to us but because He loved us just that much. This is something very difficult to grasp with the mind. So many things seem wrong in the world. Acts of Mercy don't seem to neutralize or cancel out the dreadful, sad things. They do less than that, in one way, but they do way more, in another. They are like seeds, which spring up into flower and fruit, not like value exchanged for value.
When that woman gave me the bracelet she didn't "repay" or cancel out the gratitude she felt for my mom's help. She furthered the original Divine Mercy, continued a chain, and started something new. Wearing the bracelet reminds me of that and helps me remember that every day is a living Chaplet of Divine Mercy if I can only live that way, and how my efforts don't have to be comprehensive in themselves, because they are part of a larger ecology. .