"You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse yourself from it. I am giving you three ways of exercising mercy towards your neighbor: the first- by deed, the second- by word, the third- by prayer. In these three degrees is contained the fullness of mercy, and it is an unquestionable proof of love for Me. By this means a soul glorifies and pays reverence to My mercy." (Diary of St. Faustina, No. 742)Our Savior appeared to St. Faustina to remind us of His tender mercy, but also to exhort us to follow Him in His example. Family life provides ample opportunity to exhibit and practice the virtue of mercy. In the domestic church, all are striving to be saints, but none have reached their potential yet. And so, great patience, a complement to the virtue of mercy, must be shown while forgiving the faults of others and overlooking their weaknesses. The enemy of marriage wants to plant resentment in our hearts by assigning motives to the one we are frustrated with. When a couple is first in love, all manner of excuses may be provided to explain the other's behavior but curiously none can be found later on after marriage. Pride takes precedence; suddenly one is more apt to excuse himself or others rather than pardon his spouse.
One of today's key advertising phrases is :"it will make your life easier." Ingrained with this mentality, we tend to think that it is all about making my life easier; why don't others do something to lighten my burden? Perhaps, one might think instead of how he can do more to lighten the burden of others. In our consumer and capitalist mentality, we believe that work/service done should be paid in kind. One may think he is owed something for his many labors of the day: where is my reward? where is my thanks? where is my time off?
Leisure and quiet are vitally important to the health of soul and body, and all need time to rest. Yet, one will only find misery if he is constantly tallying the number of tasks he has done, and the subsequent "reward" (in whatever form) he deserves. One must be cautious of this self-absorbed mentality where everything relates to him, and not to God or others.
Marriage (and friendship), is not a contract, but a covenant.
Blessed Mother Teresa famously said:
And so it is very important for us to realize that love, to be true, has to hurt. I must be willing to give whatever it takes not to harm other people, and, in fact to do good to them. This requires that I be willing to give until it hurts. Otherwise, there is no true love in me and I bring injustice, not peace, to those around me.A true love is a merciful one. It hurts because one must give of his own reserve; he must take away something from himself (time, energy, money, rest) and give it to another. It patterns itself after the Crucified Love of Christ: when justice and condemnation is deserved, mercy and forgiveness are freely given. When frustration and resentment feel appropriate, patience and compassion overcome.
A certain condemned man struggled down the streets of Jerusalem, surrounded by a riotous crowd heaping its merciless anger upon the sorrowful man. But then, a woman appeared, and seeing his anguish, she cared not for herself- the taunts she may endure, the physical brutality the soldiers could display on her intrusion- but only for the Suffering Servant. If she was concerned only for her present cares, her unfulfilled needs, perhaps she would have missed the man who was so in need of that tender mercy He spoke of so often. But she was not; it was His comfort, not her own that she sought. May, we too, seek the same for others.