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Quotations from Saint Josemaria

Mercy and Reconciliation

Tags: Joy, Love of God, Sacraments, Forgiveness, prodigal son, mercy
The Pope is giving some special audiences for the Year of Mercy. On April 30, he recalled that the “Jubilee of Mercy is a favorable time for everyone to discover the need for the tenderness and closeness of God our Father, and for turning back to him with all our hearts.”
The following are some passages from St Josemaria’s writings, to help pray about this subject.

Papal Audience, 30 April 2016

Dear brothers and sisters,

One of the most important aspects of mercy is reconciliation. God never stops offering us his forgiveness. It is not our sins that separate us from God; it is we who, by sinning, turn away from him. When we sin, we “turn our backs” on him and so the distance between him and us grows. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, will not rest content until he has found the lost sheep. He rebuilds the bridge that leads us back to the Father, and enables us to recover the dignity of sons and daughters.

This Jubilee of Mercy is a favorable time for everyone to discover the need for the tenderness and closeness of God our Father, and for turning back to him with all our hearts.

Picture of the Good Shepherd from the Catacombs of Priscilla, Rome
Picture of the Good Shepherd from the Catacombs of Priscilla, Rome
During this Holy Year of Mercy, we are invited to take up Saint Paul’s exhortation to “be reconciled to Christ” (2 Cor 5:20). God constantly offers us his forgiveness; in our sinfulness we can only return to him by freely accepting his grace. For this, he has given us his Son Jesus, whose cross is a bridge leading us back to the Father.

This Holy Year is a time for each of us to accept this offer of reconciliation and, in our communities, to bring it to the world around us.

Being reconciled with God not only brings inner healing and peace, but also impels us to work for reconciliation within society at every level, and thus contribute to the building of a global culture of peace, justice and solidarity.

For this reason I am particularly pleased to welcome the members of the armed forces and police from throughout the world who are with us today. Dear friends, your demanding work is above all a service to peace, security and reconciliation in society. I encourage you never to lose heart before the difficulties and conflicts you encounter, but to grow always in faith and trust in God’s loving help. Thus you will be signs of Christian hope, with its certainty that love conquers evil and that peace triumphs over violence and war.

I greet the English-speaking visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from the armed forces and police agencies who have come from Canada, Kenya, Korea, the Philippines and the United States of America. I also greet the pilgrimage groups from Scotland and the United States. In the joy of the Risen Lord, I invoke upon you and your families the loving mercy of God our Father. May the Lord bless you all!

I invite all of you to be instruments of reconciliation and sowers of peace in the various circumstances of your daily lives; and to continue to journey along the road of faith, opening your hearts to God, our merciful Father, who never gets tired of forgiving. Answer each day’s challenges by letting Christian hope shine out, which offers the certainty that love will conquer hatred and peace will overcome war. Thank you.

Passages for meditation from St Josemaria’s writings

God never stops offering us his forgiveness

We’ve got to be convinced that God is always near us. We live as though he were far away, in the heavens high above, and we forget that he is also continually by our side.
He is there like a loving Father. He loves each one of us more than all the mothers in the world can love their children – helping us, inspiring us, blessing... and forgiving.
How often we have misbehaved and then cleared the frowns from our parents’ brows, telling them: “I won’t do it any more!” – That same day, perhaps, we fall again... – And our father, with feigned harshness in his voice and serious face, reprimands us, while in his heart he is moved, realizing our weakness and thinking: “Poor child, how hard he tries to behave well!”
We’ve got to be filled, to be imbued with the idea that our Father, and very much our Father, is God who is both near us and in heaven.
The Way, no. 267

What depths of mercy there are in God’s justice! For, in the judgments of men, he who confesses his fault is punished: and in the Judgment of God, he is pardoned.
Blessed be the holy Sacrament of Penance!
The Way, no. 309

The circumstances of the servant in the parable who owed ten thousand talents, are a good summary of our situation before God. We too are unable to find the wherewithal to pay the enormous debt we have contracted for so much divine goodness, a debt which we have increased through our personal sins. Even though we fight resolutely, we can never properly repay the great debt that God has forgiven us. However, divine mercy fully makes up for the impotence of human justice. God can say he is satisfied and remit our debt, simply ‘because he is good and his mercy infinite’.
Friends of God, no. 168

Christ rebuilds the bridge that leads us back to the Father

Forward, no matter what happens! Cling tightly to Our Lord’s hand and remember that God does not lose battles. If you should stray from him for any reason, react with the humility that will lead you to begin again and again; to play the role of the prodigal son every day, and even repeatedly during the twenty-four hours of the same day; to correct your contrite heart in Confession, which is a real miracle of God’s Love. In this wonderful Sacrament Our Lord cleanses your soul and fills you with joy and strength to prevent you from giving up the fight, and to help you keep returning to God unwearied, when everything seems black. In addition, the Mother of God, who is also our Mother, watches over you with motherly care, guiding your every step.
Friends of God, no. 214

You owe such a great debt to your Father – God! He has given you life, intelligence, will... He has given you his grace: the Holy Spirit; Jesus, in the Sacred Host; divine sonship; the Blessed Virgin, the Mother of God and our Mother. He has given you the possibility of taking part in the Holy Mass; and he grants you forgiveness for your sins. He forgives you so many times! He has given you countless gifts, some of them quite extraordinary...
Tell me, my son: how have you responded so far to this generosity? How are you responding now?
The Forge, no. 11

If we strive continually to place ourselves in Our Lord’s presence, our confidence will increase when we realise that his Love and his call are always present. God never tires of loving us. Hope shows us that without him we cannot carry out even the most insignificant duty. But with God, with his grace, our wounds will quickly heal; clothed with his strength we shall be able to ward off the attacks of the enemy, and we shall improve. To sum up, the realisation that we are made of clay, and cheap clay at that, has to lead us, above all, to strengthen our hope in Christ Jesus.
Friends of God, no. 215

I would like to see you going to the holy Sacrament of Penance, the sacrament of divine forgiveness, every week, and indeed whenever you need it, without giving in to scruples. Clothed in grace, we can cross mountains, and climb the hill of our Christian duty, without halting on the way. If we use these resources with a firm purpose and beg Our Lord to grant us an ever increasing hope, we will possess the infectious joy of those who know they are children of God: ‘If God is with us, who can be against us?’ Let us be optimists. Moved by the power of hope, we will fight to wipe away the trail of filth and slime left by the sowers of hatred. We will find a new joyful perspective to the world, seeing that it has sprung forth beautiful and fair from the hands of God. We will give it back to him with that same beauty, if we learn how to repent.
Friends of God, no. 219

Holy Mary, “Queen of Apostles,” queen of all those who desire to make the love of your Son known, you understand our miseries so well. Ask Jesus’ forgiveness for our shabby lives — for what could have been fire and has been ashes, for the lights that have gone out, for the salt that has turned insipid. Mother of God, you are omnipotent in your petition. Obtain for us, along with forgiveness, the strength to live truly a life of faith and love, so we can share our faith in Christ with others.
Christ is Passing By, no. 175

Ideals of peace, reconciliation and brotherhood are widely accepted and proclaimed, but all too often the facts belie them. Some people are futilely bent on smothering God’s voice. To drown it out they use brute force or a method which is more subtle but perhaps more cruel because it drugs the spirit: indifference.
Christ is Passing By, no. 150

Be daring. Count on the help of Mary, Queen of Apostles. Without ceasing to be a mother, our Lady is able to get each of her children to face his own responsibilities. Mary always does the immense favour of bringing to the cross, of placing face to face with the example of the Son of God, those who come close to her and contemplate her life. It is in this confrontation that Christian life is decided. And here Mary intercedes for us so that our behaviour may lead to a reconciliation of the younger brother – you and me – with the firstborn Son of the Father.
Many conversions, many decisions to give oneself to the service of God have been preceded by an encounter with Mary. Our Lady has encouraged us to look for God, to desire to change, to lead a new life. And so “Do whatever he tells you” has turned into real self-giving, into a Christian vocation, which from then on enlightens all our personal life.
Christ is Passing By, no. 149




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