The Merciful

Blessed Are The Merciful For They Shall Have Mercy.

Fr. Richard Rohr has this to say :
"All spiritual teachers tell us “DO NOT JUDGE.” 

For those of us raised in a religious setting, this is very difficult.In a strange way, religion gave us all a Ph.D. in judgmentalism.
It trained us very early in life to categorize, label, and critique. It told us all about worthiness and unworthiness. This judgmental mind told us what is right and wrong, who is gay or straight, and who is good or bad.
This sort of mind never creates great people, because everybody has to fit into our way of thinking. At an early age our grid was complete. We had decided who fit in and who did not fit in. We fashioned our own little world.

Christianity that divides the world in this manner and eliminates all troublesome people and all ideas different from our way of thinking cannot be mature religion.
It cannot see the multiple gifts of each moment, nor the dark side that coexists with it.
This mind does not lead us to awareness, and above all, this mind will find it impossible to contemplate.
To practice awareness means you live in a spirit of communion; your world becomes alive and very spacious, and not divided by mere mental labels.
 Isaac of Nineveh, writing back in the 7th century, had it right:
An elder was once asked, “What is a merciful heart?” He replied:
“It is a heart on fire for the whole of creation, for humanity, for the birds, for the animals, for demons, and for all that exists. By the recollection of them the eyes of a merciful person pour forth tears in abundance. By the strong and vehement mercy that grips such a person’s heart, and by such great compassion, the heart is humbled and one cannot bear to hear or to see any injury or slight sorrow in any in creation.
For this reason, such a person offers up tearful prayer continually even for irrational beasts, for the enemies of the truth, and for those who harm her or him, that they be protected and receive mercy. And in like manner such a person prays for the family of reptiles because of the great compassion that burns  without measure in a heart that is in the likeness of God.”
Below is a short extract from the blog Koinonia - and you can read the whole article on the beatitudes taken from a policy document on the Beatitudes by the Hoover Institute here ( strange, I always associated that with the CIA).
"Mercy is a quality within reach of everyone at one time or another. All mercy requires is a position of the barest advantage over another, even for the most fleeting of moments. When someone is down — whether physically, psychologically, or emotionally — do you kick him or not? To show mercy is an action that doesn’t necessarily require activity: In certain cases, no more than the refusal to press an advantage one has is an act of mercy.Mercy and compassion are a common element of all noble faiths.
Image source
The Cross becomes mine when I can become part of it's outpouring of mercy “in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14) 
If I can come to understand this  identification with the crucified Jesus and with the broken world ...then I can say the Jesus Prayer, 

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”

This choice for love evokes tension, because our instinct wants to "lash out". A radical choice for mercy is difficult to square with our country's public justice system, intent on punishment. 

Jesus never promised that this "high" road of love would be easy. As a matter of fact, he was put to death for extending God's mercy to those who "deserved" only scorn."


claire said...

a Ph.D. in judgmentalism! You are having my mind reeling with this... Now I must go back to the whole post and read it in its entirety...
love, claire

claire said...

Another sensational treat for the spirit, Phil...
I cannot thank you enough!
Hugs, claire