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Just patience and mercy


What would happen if we all got what we truly deserve?

As your children, we fail, we falter. If we got what we really have coming, what would it be?

Recently, a lie was revealed in a relationship. Not a “little white lie,” not the “no, that dress doesn’t make you look fat” kind of fib.

It was a relationship-changing untruth.

But we worked through it to the truth, and the reason for the lie.

And it was forgiven.

But trust was broken, and that takes time and work to mend.

Some aspects of the relationship have yet to heal or settle. And there have been brief periods where communication has been different, or has lapsed, unlike before the damage caused by the lie.

“I guess this is payback. I probably deserve it.”

“It’s not payback; I forgave you as soon as I knew about the lie.”

Yes, silence was there, and a little distance.

The silence was due to weighing whether enough healing had occurred to extend trust once more. Once bitten, twice shy, so the saying goes.

If it were payback, the silence would be deafening and the relationship beyond repair, consigned to the rubbish heap of life.

We’re human. We make mistakes. We fail each other. We forgive. But rebuilding trust, rebuilding the relationships after we fail, takes time and effort.

But you, Abba, you’re not that way.

If we got what we truly deserve, we would not exist, simple as that.

You would have seen how untrustworthy your first children were in the Garden, taken a good look at how all subsequent generations would falter and fail again and again and decided then and there we were too much trouble, we couldn’t be trusted, and there was no point continuing. We’d have been consigned to the compost heap of the universe straight from the Garden!

But with you, there’s no “payback,” only patience and forgiveness, an ocean of mercy. You know before we are born we’ll make mistakes; we’ll damage our relationships with you and others through carelessness, or by intent. And still you forgive, you encourage us to dust off and start afresh, to work again to be that which you’ve created us to be your own.

How can I do less with those around me, when you offer me another chance, time and again?

You don’t send a bolt of lightning when I disappoint you. You don’t send us straight to perdition when we fail.

There’s no payback, no rebuilding trust. You forgive, you invite us to try again, and you keep loving us through it all.

My relationship with you, like the one damaged by the lie, needs work. I need to pray, to study, to try daily to reflect your presence in me, in my life.

“Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:36-37).

And in working at my relationship with you comes the healing, the forgiveness, that helps repair my relationships with others.

“é and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors é” (Matt. 6:12).

It takes time, and effort, and constancy, but healing comes.

Help us not to focus on “payback,” but to pay forward your mercy and kindness, your compassion. Help us, Abba, to be instruments of healing. I ask this in the name above all names. Amen.

Experience God’s mercy with St. Ann Catholic Church parishioners. Masses are at 5:30 p.m. Saturdays, and Sundays at 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., noon (Spanish), and 5:30 p.m. Visit for more information. Experience a homily from one of the weekend Masses, now available as full HD audio/video on the parish website. Click on “News” on the home page and scroll down.

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