It’s stuck with me for over a week now: Mercy. And more than that, the definition of Mercy as something like “womb-love.” (Thanks Jack for that). Mercy is that kind of love and relationship that most mothers have for their off-spring. It’s what makes Mama always believe in you. It’s why, despite all evidence to the contrary, Mama believes you to be worth a second, or third or thirtieth chance. It that way of acting that Hosea speaks of: “Come back to me, with all your heart, don’t let fear keep us apart.”

I often cantor repsonsorial psalms at mass, and so I remember many of them. Phrases like “The Lord is kind and merciful” or “Be merciful oh Lord for we have sinned.” Mercy is all over the scriptures.

Am I merciful? I’d like to think so. And at times, I’m pretty sure I am. But today I had to ask myself once again, “Am I merciful? Can I be merciful in this situation?” It sometimes seems easier to have mercy when I am the one harmed directly than when either my child, or my friend has been hurt. I had to sit and listen as my friend worked through a rough spot. I had to not jump on someone who jumped on my friend. I’m now at the place of beginning to pray for the whole situation. Praying for healing. Praying for honesty. Praying for folks to be able to see in the mirror clearly and work out the difficulty. Praying for the ability to be merciful, let my frustration and anger turn to mercy and compassion.

It’s just not as easy as it would seem.