What Causes Us to Desire Mercy….?

clydes-cross-2Devotional Thought fo the Day;

24 “Then the servant who had received one thousand coins came in and said, ‘Sir, I know you are a hard man; you reap harvests where you did not sow, and you gather crops where you did not scatter seed. 25I was afraid, so I went off and hid your money in the ground. Look! Here is what belongs to you.’
26 “ ‘You bad and lazy servant!’ his master said. ‘You knew, did you, that I reap harvests where I did not sow, and gather crops where I did not scatter seed? 27Well, then, you should have deposited my money in the bank, and I would have received it all back with interest when I returned.   Matthew 25:24-27

We must then, Philothea, increase our contrition and repentance, as much as possible, to the end that it may extend to the least and remotest consequences of sin. St. Mary Magdalen, in her conversion, so utterly lost the contentment and pleasure she had found in sin, that she never more thought of it. And David protested not only that he abhorred sin, but also all the ways and paths of it. In this point consists the renewing of the soul, which the same prophet compares to the growing young of an eagle.  (1)  

536    Receive. It’s not a lack of respect. Receive today precisely when you have just got over that “bit of trouble.” Have you forgotten what Jesus said? It is not those who are well but those who are sick who need the physician.

There was a time when I thought those who preached “hellfire and brimstone” were those who missed the point of preaching. I’ve also seen where those who preaching nothing but the benevolence of God also seem to miss the point.  Both extremes are wrong, yet as I’ve grown more experienced in ministry, I am coming to realize they both also have a good ingredient to preaching.

The problem is not that they are entirely off, the problem is they are unbalanced.  If you combined the most severe legalist preaching that causes people to despair, and the preacher who only talks of how blessed we are, you would actually have a fairly competent sermon!

As I was reading the passages this morning, this came into focus again.  The words in blue, from the writings of St Francis de Sales, point out our need to treat sin and the temptation that leads to it as that which is the most revolting thing we encounter.  Whether it is a temptation to gossip, or the being jealous, or the temptation to forget prayer and praising God, these things we have to learn to hate.

We need to see the damage it causes, to how we view ourselves, to how we interact with others, to the rest that we would find, if we realized we dwell in Christ’s presence.

We need to find sin revolting, we need to hate temptation more than a 9-year-old hates cooked broccoli!

For it is in comparison to that, that we stand in awe of God’s grace.  That we find salvation so sweet, so wonderful, so…. alien to who we are as sinners.  You and I, we are the servant who fails his master, who doesn’t use what God gives us, what God blesses us with each and every day.  We need to realize that and hear the disappointment and grief…..

and then, we need to hear the mercy.  For mercy is given to sinners, not to those who are holy. Souls who need renewal have known the grief and sorrow and condemnation of sin.  We don’t need to dwell in the guilt and shame forever, but we have to admit it is there, that we have failed, and we need to confess that sin, trusting in the promise of grace and mercy.

And as we do, we will desire to know the mercy, as we recognize it is our life in Christ.

And the power of sin, shattered at the cross, will be shattered in our lives as we are united to His cross once again.

(1)  Francis de Sales, Saint. An Introduction to the Devout Life. Dublin: M. H. Gill and Son, 1885. Print.

(2)  Escriva, Josemaria. The Way (Kindle Locations 1296-1298). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on November 21, 2016, in Devotions, St Francis De Sales, st josemaria escriva and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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