TUESDAY DAY 9
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD: I SHALL NOT WANT FOR MERCY AND GOODNESS
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 26:3-4
Let us begin today reflection with the words and song of Edmund Vaughan, a Redemptorist Priest who reflecting on the touch of God’s mercy in his life wrote the moving penitent hymn “God of mercy and compassion, Look with pity upon me, Father, let me call Thee Father, ‘Tis Thy child returns to Thee. Refrain: Jesus, Lord, I ask for mercy; let me not implore in vain; All my sins, I now detest them, Never will I sin again.” Dear friends in Christ, without mercy the Shepherd will be lacking in tenderness. Without trust in the Shepherd’s merciful love, many sheep that have gone astray will not return to the sheepfold. The Lord Jesus said to Sister Faustina, “The graces of my mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only, and that is trust. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive. Souls that trust boundlessly are a great comfort to Me, because I pour all the treasures of My graces into them. I rejoice that they ask for much, because it is my desire to give much, very much” (Diary 1578).
God is full of mercy and grace. Merciful to even the worst offenders, sinners, and law-breakers. This means that even though He knows of our guilt, He doesn’t always issue the punishment deserved. To elaborate, the verse in Romans 3:23-24 says “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” The God of mercy calls for the following in Micah 6:8: “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah asks God in Micah 7:18, “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.” God’s mercy embodies all the fullness of His compassion, kindness, tenderness and favor. God’s “sure mercies” are eternally promised to His people. His mercy is a divine attribute that exposes and expresses just how much God is smitten with love for His children.
Dear friends, as sinners we have violated the covenantal, transgressed the law, chosen death, chosen curse, and have forfeited our right to live as sons and heirs. Our appreciation of God’s mercy calls us to repentance and hope. The first step towards repentance is to recognize that you have sinned against God and his commandments. Feel deep sorrow within you for what you have done against God and the trouble you might have caused other people as a result of your wrongdoings. David said “For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin” (Psalm 38:18). It is important to note, however, that sorrow is a mere prelude to repentance and not repentance itself. If a man feel deep sorrow within himself without making up his mind to forsake that sin and turn to God, that sorrow is useless (Hebrews 12:17). The second step of repentance is confession. With the realization that you have sinned, you need to open up to God what you have done by telling Him what you have done through sacramental confession (for Catholics). The third step in repentance is for you to forgive others who have wronged you. The scripture says, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15). Apart from that, you also need to forgive yourself of all these wrongdoings. Many have committed suicide for their inability to forgive themselves of their sins and thereby spent their eternity in hell. The fourth, involves rectifying the problems caused by your sins or wrongdoings as much as possible. “And if it be stolen from him, he shall make restitution unto the owner thereof.” (Exodus 22:12). If you have caused an irreparable damage, then sincerely ask forgiveness of those wronged and try to find another way to show that you are truly sorry. The fifth, is for you to resolve not to sin again with the help of the Holy Spirit. To do this you need to promise God that you will not repeat such sin again. Also you need to make determination in your heart not go back into it again.
- Take this prayer: O Lord, I am weak and broken, surrounded on all sides by corruption and perversion. Lord have mercy on me: protect me from my enemies who devour me, and guide me in the way of perfection. No matter what happens to me, whether it be an attack or a seduction, may my love for you protect me from falling into sin. May I live a holy life no matter what others do around me – Amen