I have come to fall in love with teaching in Catholic schools. What are YOU in love with?...

"Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything." - Pedro Arrupe

Thursday, January 21, 2016

What is Mercy?

This question was posed to our young adult retreat planning committee a few short weeks ago, and we all sort of just "verbal vomited" until we had a rather large list scrawled on a poster. Our list ranged from relevant scripture verses to the works of mercy, from giving someone a second chance to being in a state to receive God's grace/being merciful to self.

I think mercy means a lot of different things. Or, maybe what I mean to say is that mercy takes various forms in different situations...

For me, mercy today (and tomorrow) means giving my 8th graders a clean slate. In the words of one student (who wished to have her same seat next to her friend tomorrow), "Isn't God one of second chances?" Yes, He absolutely is. And that's what's so crazy. Even though these students proceeded to talk for most of today's class period (now, granted, it was last period - not that there's any excuse), the expectation is that tomorrow looks a h*** of a lot different. I've already spoken with fellow faculty about logical consequences, and I know I need to enforce a few things. In addition, I plan to offer up the Rosary tonight for them, and I know many of my own (and their) friends and family are praying for these kids too.

Mercy for me meant going to Target after school and spending my own money on snacks and drinks for the 8th graders' retreat. I did this even though these kids really pushed my buttons today. I did it even though I believe that they'll be students who complain about the snacks I picked out or that there aren't enough drinks.

Maybe it's mercy. Maybe it's just plain crazy. But Jesus wants us to be prodigal (wasteful/lavish) with our love and mercy - to love the sinner not the sin, the student not their impulsive actions. God knows there are things people need to be merciful towards me for, so who am I to decide who deserves God's mercy? When it's easier to snap back or be sarcastic with a student, I am asked to hold my tongue and pursue the better road.

Lord, we ask you to shower us with mercy today and always. May we, in turn, be fountains of your mercy for those we encounter, especially those who need it most. Amen.

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