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Mercy…and a Triple Dose of Patience; Church of Mercy Book Club

January 12, 2016 by  
Filed under Book Club, Mercy, Sarah Reinhard

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The Church of Mercy Book Club (Week 2 of 6)

If I’m honest, I have to admit that I wouldn’t really care about the Year of Mercy if people didn’t keep forcing me to consider it and examine it and think about why it matters.

There’s work, there’s family, there’s a list of at least 500 things that are pressing! urgent! important!

And mercy? Well, that’s nice. For later on. When I have time.

Except…that’s not really how Jesus worked it, is it? And Pope Francis reminds us of that right away in today’s reading:

This is God’s way of doing things: he is not impatient like us, who often want everything all at once, even in our dealings with other people. God is patient with us because he loves us, and those who love are able to understand, to hope, and to inspire confidence. They do not give up, they do not burn bridges, they are able to forgive. Let us remember this in our lives as Christians: God always waits for us, even when we have left him behind! He is never far from us, and if we return to him, he is ready to embrace us.

The Church of Mercy, Chapter 1, paragraph 4

We have instant everything: our phones are buzzing with updates and there’s new technology just waiting to make our lives so much easier/better/faster.

Instant doesn’t really help us understand mercy, though, does it?

As a catechist, I can’t help but pick at this and want to know it so I can share it. “What’s a Year of Mercy mean anyway?” the 5th graders ask in my religious education class. And their ability to sense a sincere answer is off the charts!

I’m a parent, too, though, and mercy starts at home. Right? Like everything else?

Now each one of you could ask, how am I experiencing “being” with Jesus? This is a question I leave you: “How do I experience this remaining with Jesus, abiding in Jesus? Do I find time to remain in his presence, in silence, to be looked upon by him? Do I let his fire warm my heart?” If the warmth of God, of his love, of his tenderness, is not in our own hearts, then how can we, who are poor sinners, warm the heart of others?

The Church of Mercy, Chapter 5, paragraph 6

Mercy, I find, is first and foremost a gift. Like grace. Like faith.

Like love.

It’s that moment when I realize that nothing I can do — not a thing — makes me good enough for what I’m getting. Nothing makes my sin forgivable…except the mercy He extends to me.

I’m due for confession soon. I can tell. I have the icky feeling all over, that ooze of scum that sits over me and washes right off when I keep my appointment.

It’s more effective than the best carwash in town on a van covered in winter slush.

Mercy. Thank God for it…and for the patience he has, as I blunder my way through it.

Reading Assignment:

Parts III and IV

Discussion Questions:

1. How have you experienced the intersection of mercy and patience in your life?

2. When can you practice mercy with someone in your life today?

Feel free to comment on anything from our assignment this past week!

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About Sarah Reinhard

Sarah Reinhard continues to delight ”and be challenged by” her vocations of Catholic wife and mother. She's online at and is the author of a number of books for families.

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  • Tina Larin

    The intersection of patience and mercy??? I do not think I have reached that intersection yet. I feel the “embrace” of mercy every day when I realize that I have everything I need and His grace is sufficient for me; however, patience is another story and I strive to find that state of peace and contentment that come with a patient heart that is so contrary to my nature. Then Pope Francis reminds me, “Trust him, be confident that he is close to you, he is with you, and he will give you the peace you are looking for and the strength to live as he would have you do.” (pg11) Sarah you are absolutely right when you help us consider the effects of technology and the “instant” everything in our lives and I cannot help but think this is not His idea of how to live and it does not help us develop a patient heart. This is something to ponder as I continue the exploration into mercy.
    I am contemplating how to “practice” mercy today and I think I will first practice accepting mercy for myself and then I will wait patiently for the opportunities to extend mercy to others.
    I am still catching up and look forward to your post for the chapters ahead.

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