Some of the most gentle-hearted, kind, and loving individuals I have met are devoted to the Divine Mercy of God. They “turn the other cheek,” are soft-spoken, think before they speak, accept injustices with patience…
I’m not one of them.
Oh, don’t get me wrong… I love the “Divine Mercy devotion”… the one that spread like a wild and wonderful fire after Saint John Paul II canonized Saint Faustina, and devoted the Sunday after Easter to the Divine Mercy of God…
It’s just that I’m half-Italian, and I love justice like nobody’s business.
If something’s “not fair,” it’ll torture me into the wee hours of the night. If I see a weak, poor, disabled, or disadvantaged person bullied, my eyes start to glow red and I want to put myself in between the aggressor and the victim. If someone looks sideways at my friends, or worse, hurts them, my blood starts to boil and I get ready to take bullets for my loved ones, and all 5’4″ and 110 pounds of me become a personality that resembles the Incredible Hulk. And if someone messes with one of my babies or children…. we won’t go there.
“An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” comes easily to me. Actually, I believe it comes naturally to most of us humans, especially if we love someone. It’s natural to “want justice” when a criminal is finally caught, or to fight back in defense after we have been attacked, or to see wrongs made right and perpetrators pay.
God is All-Just, right? So it seems to me that our hunger for justice is healthy and reflective of Him…. Right?
But then, we can all see what happens when terrorists call for “justice” and “get back at a country” for their loss (or perceived loss…). A bomb flies one way, then another one flies the other way, country versus country, and nothing is ever solved. Whether we’re talking about figurative “bombs” of discord within our families and communities, or real ones around the world, death and fear continue to reign with this type of “justice” because there is never an end to an “eye for an eye”…
…Until, someone forgives. Someone shows mercy, and doesn’t fire back, when they could…. Someone swallows their pride, takes the higher road, rises above human justice, and enters into the realm of God’s Justice, which is inseparable from Mercy.
This is the key to peace. True peace. And this is precisely why this upcoming Sunday of Divine Mercy, as well as this Year of Mercy, which was declared by the Church, are so essential for our times.
There are too many deaths, too much violence, too much political upheaval… too much calling for human justice, wall-building, and ‘an eye for an eye’ regarding world issues… And not enough MERCY.
If we all get feisty and want to “get back at the other guy,” where will this attitude get us? It will never end, and we will finally all be “blind and toothless” as Tevye says famously in Fiddler on the Roof. Where does it stop? Especially for those of us who struggle with Justice versus Mercy?
That’s just it… There is no “versus.” Justice and Mercy are not opposed. They are inseparable, they are married… They are fail-proof when they are together…
And for someone like me, I need this reminder every year, that SomeOne was All-Merciful to me first, before He asked me to act that way to my neighbor.
And with a twinkle in my eye, I say, “alright, alright!” And maybe, if each of us on our own little scale start to dish out mercy, true peace will come upon our troubled world…
That is my prayer… If you are feisty, too, please join me. Chances are, we feisty ones need just as much mercy as those we are praying for. 🙂
Love and blessings,