Jubilee Year of Mercy
Fr. Wade’s Blog, April 2016
“Mercy Requires Acknowledging Sin”
Hello friends, Fr. Wade Menezes here of the Fathers of Mercy with another “Mercy Minute” for the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy called for by Pope Francis.
In his most recent book titled, The Name of God is Mercy, Pope Francis states, “Precisely because there is sin in the world, precisely because our human nature is wounded by Original Sin, God, who delivered His Son for us, can only reveal Himself as merciful. God is a careful and attentive Father, ready to welcome any person who takes a step or even expresses the desire to take a step that leads home.” (p. 51)
My friends, the great gift of God’s mercy – which many of the Church Fathers called God’s “greatest attribute” – requires acknowledging the reality of sin. In fact, God’s mercy exists precisely because of the reality of sin: the Original Sin we inherit because of the Fall of our first parents, and any actual (that is, personal) sin we commit, whether mortal and venial.
In other words, if there is no such thing as sin, then there is no need for mercy. But precisely because there is such a thing as sin, there is a need for mercy.
Pope Francis goes even further and states, “Mercy exists, but if you don’t want to receive it…If you don’t recognize yourself as a sinner, it means you don’t want to receive it, it means that you don’t feel the need for it.” (p. 57)
All that said, the great news is that no human sin – however serious – can prevail over or limit God’s mercy so long as the person is willing to seek forgiveness. In fact, God is so merciful, that He can use one of our sinful falls to draw us more closely to Himself. Maybe this is what Pope Francis means when he says, “I have often said that the place where my encounter with the mercy of Jesus takes place is my sin.” (p. 34)
And that’s another Mercy Minute. I’m Fr. Wade Menezes of the Fathers of Mercy. Be sure to visit the Fathers of Mercy website at fathersofmercy.com and follow our Community on Facebook. God bless you.