The Healing Power of Mercy!

Hosea 14:4

I will heal their faithlessness;
I will love them freely,
for my anger has turned from them.

Everybody has some despicable little thing they did tucked away in their memory. It is that nasty cruel thing we did long ago to that kid in elementary school that drove her home in tears, or that cheap betrayal or that one deed we did that we wish we could take back and which periodically comes to mind as we are going to sleep at night. It’s not necessarily a haunting curse, but it’s that thing which, squarely looked at, makes us squirm with embarrassed revulsion. It is just this sort of thing which God knows all about — and completely forgives through Christ Jesus. The miracle of our faith, the greatest of God’s attributes, is mercy. Mercy doesn’t mean “excuses.” It means really seeing us for who we are and really and truly forgiving. Excuses are fine when what we have done is excusable. But the trouble with applying excuses where mercy is needed is that no healing takes place. The person who has done some genuinely rotten thing only goes away thinking, “If they knew what I was really like, they’d hate me.” The glory of God’s mercy is that it says, “I have seen what you are really like, and I love you passionately; enough to die for you.” To be truly seen and still loved is the cry of the human soul. God sees you and he loves you with all his heart.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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