This post is part of our Ordinary Time, Extraordinary Mercy series, in which CatholicMom.com contributors will share their own experiences of living the Year of Mercy. Beginning at Pentecost and continuing through the summer, we’ll cover many aspects of the Works of Mercy in family life.
I’ve been married for 30 years. I love my husband more today than ever. When thinking about what mercy means in regards to my spouse, I realized that mercy and marriage are synonymous.
Mercy comes from the Latin miseracordie, which means “ a heart for those in misery.” The ultimate act of mercy was Jesus’ profound act of self gift, the self-sacrificial gift of His life, on the cross. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. (John 3:16). God so loved His Spouse the Church, that He looked at her heart of misery, in sin, and offered His sinless Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, to the Father to pay our debt. Jesus was always and completely in loving union with the Father, and by His gift of His life, He offers us the same. If we are willing to unite ourselves in sacrifice to this gift of Jesus, we become one with the Father, and the Holy Spirit too. We participate in God’s Trinitarian Love.
Can you hear the echoes of marriage here? This is the ultimate marriage. Our marriages to our spouses are signs to the world of this most perfect love between Persons in the Trinity. And the centrality of it all lies in the mercy which with the Father loves the Son enough to give Him to us, and the Son’s love of the Father back so as to unite the rest of humanity to the Father too.
In marriage, we offer ourselves as a free, total, faithful and fruitful gift of self. Day in and day out, we die to ourselves so that the other might live. We have a heart for the other’s misery.
We get up early to make sure we have time to talk before work. We put down the remote so we can offer our help. Mercy!
We muster through seasons of drought, when the romance seems to wane. We rejoice when God send the rain! Mercy!
We offer our very bodies in sexual union, and give God the lead in a myriad of ways – planning pregnancies and abstaining, giving freely and totally, always faithful, and always fruitful in the ways that God shows us will give Him the most glory. Mercy!
We suffer through losses of children in miscarriage or parents in death, times of sickness, hospitalizations, or real financial worries. Mercy!
We suffer the heartaches of raising children, getting some right and getting some wrong, patient with the others’ shortcomings. Mercy!
We suffer with daily, petty annoyances and personality flaws. Mercy!
We suffer through blame and shame, healing and growth. Mercy!
Yes, another word for mercy is marriage! This union of persons, that creates a third, the union of persons that really does give the world a glance at the reality of God.
May we see how merciful God is to have authored this gift of marriage, and to those of us called to it, let us see each day and each encounter with our spouses as one of the greatest gifts of God’s mercy in our lives.
Lord, help us to be merciful always in loving our spouses. Let us recognize the mercy you have shown us by giving us to each other in love. Sacred Heart of Jesus, Fountain of God’s Merciful Love, I unite myself to you so you can show me how to pour out this love to my spouse. Amen.
Copyright 2016 Cindy Costello