CHRIST has told us clearly: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Lk 6,36) There are no ifs and buts in these words. In fact, Christ continued to say: “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you…For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (37-38)
We need to etch these words deeply in our mind and heart and start to develop the relevant attitude, skills and lifestyle. We have to remember that if we truly have to be ‘another Christ’ as we ought to be, we have to know how to be merciful the way Christ, the fullness of God’s revelation to us, was and continues to be merciful to all of us.
And how was Christ merciful to all of us? First of all, being the son of God, he emptied himself to become man. That way, he already adapted himself to our wounded, sinful condition. He identified himself with us so that we would have a way to identify ourselves with him. He preached the truth about God and about ourselves.
He gave preferential attention to the sick, that is, the sinners. He was always ready to forgive, his mercy and compassion having no limits—“not only seven times, but seventy times seven times.” (Mt 18,22) He taught about loving the enemy and lived it. He did not mind all the insults and mockeries that were poured on him just to accomplish his mission of saving us.
And in the end, he assumed all our sins without committing sin by dying on the cross. In that way, he dealt death to all our sins, and with his resurrection he offered us a way for our own salvation and reconciliation with our Father God. He was thoroughly magnanimous.
This is the ideal we should try our best, with God’s grace, to aim at. This, of course, will be a lifelong, let alone overwhelming, effort and process. But it can be done. And it would be good if we can start it as soon as we can. God waits for us to learn this virtue. And to be sure, he provides us with all that is needed in this regard.
On our part, we have to exert the effort to widen our heart so as to resemble it with the merciful heart of Christ. Everyday, we have to practice to detach our heart from the clutches of our own likes and dislikes, the very earth-and-flesh-bound condition of our physical, emotional and intellectual dynamics, so that it can conform itself to the universal heart of Christ, full of mercy and compassion.
We should be eager to forgive, facilitating things so that mercy can be given. One concrete way of learning to be merciful always is to be understanding of everyone the way one is while always thinking of how everyone should be. In this, we need to acquire the mind and heart, the attitude and skills of a mediator who, like Christ, is the bridge between God and man.
Definitely, to be merciful one needs to learn the art of patience and suffering, which in their turn will require a deep sense of humility and simplicity. Without the latter virtues, it would just be impossible for us to be merciful and compassionate.
This means that just like what St. Paul once said, we have to learn to be “all things to all men.” (1 Cor 9,22) Indeed, we simply have to forget ourselves so that this ability to be flexible and ready to serve and help everyone as he is, can be developed.
We have to learn to serve and help people who are either simple or complicated, of the intellectual or the manual or blue-collar type, rich or poor, young or old, etc.