By Sister Gloria Heese

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.”

—Luke 6: 36-37

Art by Sister Renee Yann

For me, this Gospel passage goes straight to the heart of how we might embody Mercy in community. How? It seems pretty obvious: by being merciful as our God is merciful, by not judging others, by not condemning others, by forgiving others, by giving to others all that we can give.

And our motivation is not so that God will do these things for us but because we believe being merciful is how God really is—and we would like to be, to live like that.

But how do we not judge? Are we not critical thinkers who draw conclusions and make decisions? How can we be truly merciful as our God is merciful? What about situations where, from our perspective, it seems that someone in community is not acting as merciful as we would like?

Maybe in these situations we could “judge” the actions but not leap to personal conclusions about the person involved. Maybe we could give another the benefit of the doubt. Maybe we could trust in the good will of the other.

What do you think? How would you finish the sentence “Maybe I could…?”

How about ending all conclusions, no matter what they may be. How about just being present and listening? How about giving the other a full measure, a generous helping of love?

How do you think you could really live in community and always live our Mercy values?

Sister Gloria’s reflection is based on the scripture readings for Monday of the Second Week in Lent and was adapted with permission from the Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Community’s Lenten 2019 Reflection Booklet.

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