For nine seasons, Americans spent countless hours watching a television show that can be summarized by one phrase: “God loves you.” Toward the end of every episode, from 1994-2003, every week viewers would watch one of the three angels on the series Touched by an Angel remind their viewers that God loves them.
Recently, I found myself pondering how I am called to show mercy toward others, and how I am taught the Corporal Works of Mercy and Spiritual Works of Mercy. As a faithful Catholic, I am called to actions of work and prayer translating them into service toward others.
As Christians, we live to serve each other.
In service to each other, we are serving the Lord.
I then began wondering – how frequently do I apply the principles of the Spiritual Works of Mercy toward myself? As a beloved child of God, how often do I recognize that I am a sinner, in need of His saving grace, love, and mercy?
You see, I can pray for, and work toward, instructing the ignorant, counseling the doubtful, bearing wrongs patiently, comforting the afflicted, and even praying for the living and the dead.
However, these aren’t the only Spiritual Works of Mercy. The last two are just as important.
Sin may start out a small snowflake, but it eventually builds into a snowball. It becomes a cascading effect, until we are caught in an avalanche of sin. Sin destroys our relationship with God.
Knowing that we all sin, and knowing that we are to admonish the sinners as a Spiritual Work of Mercy, how frequently do I allow myself the time to reflect – on my sins and transgressions?
It takes a humble soul to recognize themselves as a sinner, and time to reflect on its transgressions. It doesn’t mean shouting from the rooftops that I am a sinner, although Pope Francis has made it very clear that even he is, “but a sinner.”
How do I admonish myself as a sinner?!
When I recognize and admonish myself as a sinner, my soul yearns for the Sacrament of Confession. My soul yearns for the grace of mercy God Himself bestows on me, a sinner, when I visit with Him in the Confessional – because He is divine!
Yet, applying the last Spiritual Work of Mercy of forgiving offenses willingly, to myself, do I trust Our Lord has forgiven me when I receive the Sacrament of Confession?
A while back, I wrote about being God’s masterpiece, and as such, who am I to judge, critique, or criticize myself? If I am to truly trust God’s love for me, and that I am made in His image and likeness, I must then ask myself, do I forgive myself for my transgressions?
Because, ultimately, God loves me!
How can I better receive His love and mercy if I do not apply these Spiritual Works not just to others, but also to myself?