Friday, September 09, 2005

Conversion and Mercy

Our God is a merciful God. This is an important point, because it is the very thing that makes conversion possible. Once Adam & Eve sinned, there was no way for mankind to redeem itself. God is the only one who could do so. So Jesus Christ was sent as the penultimate revelation of God's mercy. As John Paul II more eloquently phrased it: The Paschal Mystery is the culmination of this revealing and effecting of mercy, which is able to justify man, to restore justice in the sense of that salvific order which God willed from the beginning in man and, through man, in the world. (Dives in Misericordia)

So the only reason we have hope that we can continue on the path of conversion and turn away from our sins is because we have the confidence that God is merciful and will "restore justice" to all the injustices we have committed.

There's an important corollary to this. The only way that we can then truly experience God as a merciful God is by really experiencing our sinfulness. That's why conversion involves an element of suffering, or sorrow. By actually experiencing the alienation from God that occurs when we sin, we more deeply experience His mercy as well. Contrition for our sins is therefore an integral component to conversion.


At 9/09/2005 9:19 PM, Anonymous lisieux said...

I think this little quote from Mother Teresa's -- A Simple Path---expands the thought in your last paragraph: "As one grows in prayer one grows also in the knowledge of oneself and if not in one's sinfulness, then certainly in potential sinfulness.l It brings about a real understanding of what St. Philip Neri said, "There go I, but for the grace of God".


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