This year the Church keeps a special Jubilee Year of…
God heard Hannah’s prayer. He had mercy on her.
She had wept bitterly. She suffered. She longed to have a son. God heard her; her pain became His. He acted to relieve her suffering.
That, in a nutshell, is mercy. To experience someone’s suffering as my own, and to act to relieve it.
We human beings experience suffering whenever a necessary good is lacking. Hunger and thirst count as the most basic form of suffering, since we can’t survive if we lack food and drink.
In order truly to grasp the depths of divine mercy, though, we have to contemplate this: God, in His mercy relieved us of a much-more profound lack. The lack of existing.
It could have been that we wouldn’t even be. But God, in His mercy, made us. Not because we deserved it—we weren’t even around to deserve or not deserve. He made us because He is love, and He loves us.
Getting caught up in the question of what so-and-so deserves tends to turn us into merciless meatheads. Who am I to judge what anyone deserves? I know that I myself hardly deserve the safe and secure life that I enjoy.
No, the question is not what so-and-so deserves. Mercy means suffering right alongside someone who suffers. The question, if any, is: What can I do to relieve this suffering?