Too Much Mercy?


Sarah Granger // Scripture: A Mother's Lens

3 Comments

March 10  

It’s Lent again, and once again I set a list of resolutions for prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Once again, I immediately falter—forgetting I gave up snacks until right as I finish eating one; settling in to watch a romantic comedy, remembering as the credits roll that I’ve forsworn secular screen time—the list goes on.

In my quiet time with God, I ask for help and mercy. I resolve to seek sacrifice anew, without shame. As I finish my prayer, a thought, unbidden, pops into my head—I am trusting too much in God’s mercy. I feel unsettled, and mentally counter that surely I cannot possibly trust too much in God’s mercy, a mercy as infinite as his love. Doesn’t St. Paul call him God, who is rich in mercy? (Eph. 2:4)

But the seed of doubt is planted, and I worry that I am being presumptuous. Anxiety floods over me. Do I have too great a view of God’s mercy? What about my practice of entrusting my children to God’s mercy? What about my past sins long, I thought, forgiven? What about my human weakness that brings me daily to my knees in need of mercy? I think of all of my weaknesses and constant shortcomings. I think about my wild trust in God’s mercy, If I am wrong, I feel hopelessly lost.

In spiritual direction, my director leads me to a quote by St. Faustina: “The graces from my mercy are drawn by one vessel, and that vessel is trustfulness. The more trustful a soul is, the more it will receive . . . I am pleased when they ask for much, for I want to bestow much, and even very much. But I am saddened when souls ask for little, when they tighten and close up their hearts” (Diary 1578). My trustful, constant requests for God’s mercy delight him, she assures me. The more I trust in and ask for his mercy, the more I please him, the more my heart expands to receive his love.

I laugh suddenly, recognizing my silliness, recognizing that it was the voice of the accuser warning me not to trust too much in the mercy of God. I imagine myself standing before the throne of my heavenly Father at the end of my life, in humble expectation of his love and mercy. I imagine saying, “Abba, I’m sorry if I trusted too much in your mercy.” All I can feel is his joy in my trustful expectancy of love and mercy, a joy that mirrors mine when my children run to me with open arms, even after being corrected. There is pure joy when a child knows their parent desires nothing more than to pour love and mercy out on them. 

I regroup, facing the rest of these forty days with hope of his grace and helphelp to live my prayer and penance well and to practice joyful trust in his mercy if I falter.

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  • Such a blessing to read! Thank you, Sarah! You have such a way of showing me my own heart and then helping me take the next step toward the Lord!

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