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Third Sunday after Pentecost

Merciful Love

From book "Divine Intimacy - Meditations on the Interior Life for Every Day Of The Liturgical Year"... Presence of God O Jesus, reveal to me the infini...

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Divine Intimacy

Fr. Gabriel

Presence of God

O Jesus, reveal to me the infinite treasures of mercy contained in Your Heart.


I. Today’s liturgy is a warm invitation to confidence in the merciful love of Jesus. Even from the beginning of the Mass, the Church has us pray thus : "Look toward me and have pity on me, O Lord, for I am desolate and unhappy. See my misery and my sadness, and pardon all my sins" (Introit); then in the Collect we add : "O God... pour out upon us Your mercy," and a little later we are exhorted : "Cast your care upon the Lord, and He will support you" (Gradual). But how can we justify all this confidence in God, since we are always poor sinners? The Gospel (Lc. 15, 1-10) explains the grounds for thisjustification by relating two parables used by Jesus Himself to teach us that we can never have too much confidence in His infinite mercy : the story of the lost sheep and the account of the missing drachma. First He shows us the good shepherd who goes in search of the lost sheep; it is a picture of Jesus coming down from heaven to search for poor human beings lost in the dark caves of sin. In order to find them, rescue them, and bring them back to the sheepfold. He does not hesitate to undergo the greatest sufferings and even death. "And when he hath found it...[he lays] it upon his shoulders, rejoicing : and coming home, [he calls] together his friends and neighbors, saying to them : ‘ Rejoice with me for I have found my sheep that was lost. ’" This is the story of the love of Jesus for all mankind and especially for every individual soul. The story has a beautiful symbolism in the tender figure of the good shepherd, to which Jesus likened Himself. We might say that the image of the good shepherd—which was so greatly loved in the early days of the Church—is the equivalent of that of the Sacred Heart; both are living, concrete expressions of the merciful love of Jesus, and they urge us to go to Him with complete confidence.

II. "I say to you, that even so there will be joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, more than over ninety- ninejust who have no need ofrepentance." Here we have the underlying idea of all three parables about mercy—the lost sheep, the missing drachma, and the prodigal son—each expressing this thought in a different way. This insistent repetition tells us how earnestly Jesus would inculcate the profound lesson of His infinite mercy, a mercy which is the exact opposite of the hard, scornful attitude of the Pharisees who murmured, saying, "He [Jesus] receives sinners and eats with them." The three parables are the Master’s answer to their mean and treacherous insinuations.

It is not easy for finite creatures with a limited spiritual outlook to understand this ineffable mystery completely; not only is it difficult to understand in respect to others, but it presents a problem even in what concerns ourselves. However, Jesus said and repeated : "There will be joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, more than over ninety- nine just" thus giving us to understand what great glory a soul gives to God when, after many falls, it comes back to Him, repentant and confident. The message of this parable applies not only to great sinners, those converted from serious sin, but also to those who turn from venial sins, who humble themselves and rise again after faults committed through weakness or lack of reflection. This is our everyday story : how many times we resolve to overcome our impatience, our quick temper, our sensitiveness, and how many times we fall again! But the Heart of Jesus "thrills with joy when, humbly acknowledging our fault, we come to fling ourselves into His arms, imploring forgiveness; then, He loves us even more tenderly than before we fell" (T.C.J. L-C).

The liturgy repeats in the Communion hymn the last verse of the Gospel : "I say to you, there shall be joy before the angels of God over one sinner doing penance." Let us ask Jesus, when He comes to us in Holy Communion, to help us penetrate the secrets of His infinite, merciful love.


"In whom, Lord, can Your mercies shine forth as in me, who with my evil deeds have thus obscured the great favors which You had begun to show me? Alas, my Creator! If I would make an excuse, I have none, and no one is to blame but I. For had I cooperated even a little with Your love which You had begun to show me, I would not have been able to love aught but Yourself Lord...but as I have not deserved this...may Your mercy be availing for me.

"Yet even from me some good has been brought forth by Your infinite goodness, and, the greater have been my sins, the more has the great blessing of Your mercies shone forth in me. How many reasons have I for singing of them forever! I beseech You, my God, that it may be so : may I sing of them, and that without end, since You have deigned to work such exceeding great mercies in me that they amaze those who behold them, while as for me, I am drawn out of myself continually, that I may be the better able to sing Your praise. For so long as I am in myself, my Lord, and without You, I can do nothing but be cut off like the flowers in this garden, and this miserable earth will become a dunghill again as before. Permit it not, Lord. Let it not be Your will that a soul which You have purchased with so many trials should be lost, when You have so often redeemed it anew and have snatched it from the teeth of the horrible dragon" (T.J. Life, 4-14).

"O Jesus, I know that Your Heart is more grieved by the thousand little imperfections of Your friends than by the faults, even grave, which Your enemies commit. Yet, it seems to me, that it is only when those who are Your own are habitually guilty of thoughtlessness and neglect to seek Your pardon, that You can say : ‘ These wounds which you see in the midst of My hands I have received in the house of those who love Me. ’ But Your Heart thrills with joy when You have to deal with all those who truly love, and who after each little fault come to fling themselves into Your arms, imploring forgiveness. You say to Your angels what the prodigal’s father said to his servants : ‘ Put a ring upon his finger, and let us rejoice. ’ O Jesus, how little known is the merciful love of Your Heart!" (cf. T.C.J. L-C).

Topics in this meditation:

Gods Mercy
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Devotion of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Saturday of the second week after Pentecost