Our need for mercy
. . . Catherine lived a fairly balanced life. Indeed she was a woman committed to being an instrument of God’s mercy to those most particularly in need. She was also a woman who was united with the compassionate sufferings of Jesus Christ particularly by her presence with those persons who are poor. At the same time, she was a woman in need of the tender mercy of God, and she was open and receptive to this mercy as it was manifested in the events of life and in the myriad kinds of relationships she had with others.

Forgetting this latter dimension of the charism can lead to a kind of deadly seriousness about ourselves as ministers, an over-emphasis on self- reliance and achievement, and a lack of balance between work and leisure, seriousness and play, self and other, and the inner and outer dimensions of our lives. Lack of awareness of this dimension of the charism can also lead to a kind of forgetfulness that it is God who is the author of all mercy.

. . . I think we might find it advantageous to ask ourselves the following kinds of questions: Are we willing to “work” a little less and, as Catherine put it, “waste time” with others? What are others saying to us about their need for God’s mercy and their desire to participate in this healing and creative energy? How do we experience the mercy of God as it is manifested to us in and through others? Do we need to deepen our understanding that mercy is the sign of God’s care for the universe and, consequently, grow in our ability to trust that the presence of God’s mercy is at work in the world? Can we let go of our concerns about our ultimate destiny or about the ultimate destiny of our institutions just enough that we might sense the next movement of the Spirit in our communal life?

If we worked a little less and spent more time listening to the deepest desires of our own hearts, what would we hear today? Might we come to know ourselves as women and men in need of God’s Mercy? Might this growing realization engender deeper levels of acceptance, provoke far-reaching and powerful bonds of mutuality, and create more merriment and affection among ourselves and with others? Finally, might we come to that deeper gratitude of heart which Catherine evinced in her daily life for all the ways in which God’s love surrounds us?