Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Making mercy visible

Today the Church honors St. Claude de la Columbière, the spiritual director of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, who in turn was the 17th-century mystic who received the revelation of the Sacred Heart. Confronted with Jansenism—a perversion of the faith that led many to believe they were beyond any hope of mercy—Columbiere championed the forgiving love of Christ. His "Despair Prayer" offers beautiful food for contemplation:

"Lord, I am in this world to show Your mercy to others. Other people will glorify You by making visible the power of Your grace by their fidelity and constancy to You. For my part I will glorify You by making known how good You are to sinners, that Your mercy is boundless and that no sinner no matter how great his offenses should have reason to despair of pardon. If I have grievously offended You, my Redeemer, let me not offend You even more by thinking that You are not kind enough to pardon me. Amen."
Image: Window at Dahlgren Chapel of the Sacred Heart, Georgetown. Photo by Gregory Gresko OSB.