The first thing I want to look at today is the word “mercy.” This week I had cause to think about the difference between mercy and compassion. I learned something interesting. While the meanings may overlap, there is a difference between the two.
Compassion means to suffer with. When someone we know is hurting, we feel what they’re going through. Mercy is our response to compassion. For example, a friend may lose a beloved member of their family. Compassion feels their loss. Our compassion for them then causes us to make a pan of brownies and take it to them. That is mercy.
O God, author of every mercy and of all goodness, who in fasting, prayer and almsgiving have shown us a remedy for sin, look graciously on this confession of our lowliness, that we, who are bowed down by our conscience, may always be lifted up by your mercy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
This week, the Collect needs to be studied line-by-line -
Let's start with author: It’s easy to think, “an author writes,” and go on, however, an author doesn’t write something that’s been written before. An author writes things that are the first, the original.
A remedy for sin: Are fasting, prayer and almsgiving still feeling a little hard? If so, that’s a good thing. Our Lenten practices aren’t just about getting ashes on Ash Wednesday or giving up chocolate. It’s about feeling true remorse for our sin. It’s about repenting, turning from sin and turning toward God. We don’t have to be like the people in Ninevah, who put on sackcloth and sat in ashes, but we should take fasting, prayer, and almsgiving as a remedy for our sin with the same seriousness.
This confession of our lowliness: We need to face it, we are sinners, and sometimes we are far away from being the person that God created us to be. This confession brings a great reward:
Bowed down by our conscience, God will always lift us up by his mercy: When we come admit to the truth of who we are and what we’ve done (that’s the confession of our lowliness) God, the author of every mercy will lift us up. In fact, to receive God’s mercy, depends on if we truthfully admit to God that we need it.
Lectio the Liturgy: As God, in his compassion, bestows his mercy on us, we are called to be merciful to others. What work of mercy do you feel called to do this week?
Thank you for praying with me. Have a blessed week!