Mighty Mercy

Mighty Mercy

Brother Christopher speaks on "Mighty Mercy":  I think that after “I love you”, the most beautiful words in any language are: “I’m sorry”.  “I’m Sorry” means: “I value you.  I hurt you, and because I value you so much I’m deeply sorry that you be harmed in anyway.  You are precious.”  “I’m Sorry” is healing.  When there is true reconciliation it restores relationships STRONGER than they were before.  One can say afterwards, “Now I know.  The relationship, our commitment to one another, has been tested and survived the trial.  I know my relationship with you is important to you, to have forgiven the offense. "I’m Sorry” admits my imperfection; it gives you permission to be imperfect too.  Now we can be real persons to each other, not perfect masks.  We can be ourselves. 

I state clearly and unambiguously that an apology does NOT excuse from setting things right, from addressing issues.  No.  What it does is set us free to work TOGETHER toward making things right, to address what needs to be corrected. 

Forgiveness is always a gift.  First, it is always a gift from God, from Whom the motivation and grace to forgive comes; then, it is a gift from the brother.  Forgiveness cannot be forced, cannot be taken for granted.  It is NEVER deserved; that is the whole point!  An offense has been committed that has broken the relationship and only the brother, by an act of freedom, can restore the gift of himself back to the offending brother. 

 I say “I’m Sorry” to God all day long.  God never gets tired of hearing “I’m sorry”.  God delights in it.  Shockingly, Scripture says that God ‘consigned all to sin, so that he might have Mercy on all’ (Rom. 11:32).  It seems that God so delights in Mercy that he PREFERS to allow His beautiful cosmic order to be disrupted, so that He can fill up the wound, the lack, the disorder, with His Love and Communion.  Should we then also, actually LOOK FORWARD to opportunities to forgive?  If we think life is about “getting things right”, then… no.  But, is it?  If the act of forgiveness were not so important, healing and life-giving, I ask, why would errors and the need to forgive be so common in our world?  

Jesus came to bring all humanity into Unity, into Christ.  A monastic community is a witness to that, it is in the image of the Most Holy Trinity.  The spiritual enemy of mankind hates that, wants to destroy that Trinitarian Image, always tries to break us up.  And he has the very best arsenal to use against us: our failings, our weaknesses, our insensitivity to our brothers, our SINS against our brothers, the things said which never should have been said, the things done which never should have done.  But God can use this toxic mess to produce a happy outcome: which is, that our common life bears witness to Jesus and Mercy being more powerful than any failing that could drive us apart.

Amazing! Let us bless God and adore His greatest attribute: His boundless mercy!  And let us do our part by working toward setting right and just all that we can.  

#forgiveness #mercy #sorry #trappists #monks

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Prayer

Cistercian monastic life gives primary place of chanting the Opus Dei or Divine Office in community as well as personal time spent in sacred reading which fulfill the monk's sacred duty of seeking God.

Hospitality

Cistercian monastic life allows rooms for guests because all guests are to be received as Christ.  We never know if we have entertained angels.

Life in Common

Cistercian monastic life is communal:  We share all things in common as did the early Christian community so as to live in greater charity and union with Christ.