Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Crossroads Initiative

catechetical resourses for the Catholic ChurchMarcellino D'Ambrosio, Crossroads Initiative RCIA in

the Catholic ChurchMarcellino D'Ambrosio, Crossroads Initiative adult

education in the Catholic ChurchMarcellino D'Ambrosio, Crossroads Initiative

Exploring the Catholic ChurchMarcellino D'Ambrosio, Crossroads Initiative Early

Church Fathers
Crossroads Initiatitve, a ministry of Dr. Marcellino

   D'Ambrosio        
 
 
 

Meaning of Mercy

Dr. D'Ambrosio

Dr. D'Ambrosio - Holy Land Pilgrimage

 

The Meaning of Mercy

 by: Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio

 

Feast of Faith: Transforming Power of the Eucharist, Year of the EucharistThe Second Vatican Council calls the Eucharist the “Source and Summit” of the Christian life.  Yet we must keep in mind that the same council makes clear that the Eucharist is not the sum total of the Christian life.

                                                                                               

Indeed, the Eucharist, and all the sacraments, are memorials of a dramatic act of mercy that occurred not in the serene majesty of the temple liturgy, but in history, amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

 

Let’s pause for a moment to recall the reason for the Ultimate Work of Mercy.  The first members of the human race had renounced their freedom and dignity as sons and daughters of God and had fallen into bondage to a tyrannical master.  Suffering and death were the fruit of this slavery.  The price to redeem themselves from this miserable situation was beyond their means.  So in bondage they stayed, forging heavier chains for themselves with every passing generation.

 

Until, that is, the God of Justice manifested Himself as the Father of Mercy.  Justice renders to each their due and calls each to assume responsibility for themselves.  Mercy goes beyond the issue of who is responsible.  Mercy is simply love’s response to suffering.  So the Father of Mercy, to relieve our suffering, sent his Eternal Son to be made flesh by the power of the Holy Spirit.  God the Son, by nature incapable of suffering, became vulnerable for us.  He bound the strong man who had tyrannized the human race and paid the debt that the human race hadn’t been able to cover.  His rescue mission succeeded at the cost of his life.

 

This is what the Mass commemorates and makes present again.  The one who once gave himself in mercy to relieve our suffering continues to give himself to us, holding nothing back, in the sacrament of sacraments, the sacrament of divine mercy.

 

The Eucharist, Bread and WineBut why does he so give himself under the form of food?  That we may become what we eat.  That we may grow in holiness, which is to say, become more perfect in that divine love that we call charity.  Mercy is just what charity does when it encounters suffering.

 

The Eucharist, then cannot exist in isolation from life.  It is the liturgical commemoration of a Work of Mercy that is designed to issue in works of mercy.  Thus mercy is essential to the life of every member of the Church until evil and suffering are no more.  St James reminds us that Christianity that responds to suffering with no more than kind words and tender sentiments is neither true love nor even authentic faith: “If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one o f you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit?”(James 2:14-17)

 

Some things to keep in mind about the work mercy in the Church:

 

Ten Commandments, Works of Mercy1) Mercy is for everyone.    One of the greatest misconceptions of my early years as a Catholic was that Catholicism is a two-track system.  Lay people just need to worry about keeping the precepts of the church and the Ten Commandments.   The Sermon on the Mount and real holiness is the territory of those called to priesthood and religious life.  Knowing that this misconception was pervasive, the Second Vatican Council affirmed in its Dogmatic Constitution on the Church that the call to true holiness is absolutely universal (Lumen Gentium Chap V).  And holiness means love, and love means mercy.  Therefore, works of mercy can’t just be relegated to those who belong to the social justice committee or the Missionaries of Charity.  Everyone, without exception, is called to the work of mercy.

 

2) Mercy relieves suffering, and there are different kinds of suffering.  I once heard a Catholic in France offer a striking petition in the prayer of the Faithful: “let us pray for all those suffering from the pain of not knowing the love of God.”  The lack of bodily necessities certainly causes great distress. But so does lack of the things of the spirit.  It is important to keep in mind that the Church enumerates not only corporal works of mercy but spiritual works of mercy as well, and that the latter actually have a certain preeminence.  Perhaps not all are quite ready to instruct the ignorant or admonish sinners.  But at least one of the spiritual works of mercy is something that virtually all of us can do, regardless of our location or state of health: interceding for the living and the dead.  Indeed this is the work of mercy performed by the glorified saints in heaven.

 

Mother Teresa, Works of Mercy3) Charity begins at Home.   That Angel of Mercy, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, was often approached by people who were moved to want to share in her apostolate to the poorest of the poor.  Her advice was often “go home and love your own family”.  If we open our eyes there are people all around us who are lonely, sick, overworked, and troubled.   They very much need our compassion and attention.  This is where we must start.  “If any one does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his own family, he has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (I Timothy 5:8).

 

4) Charity can’t end at Home   The story of the Good Samaritan is striking for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that the hero of the story has no natural bond with the victim.  Jews and Samaritans actually had great antipathy for each other.  So we can’t restrict our works of mercy to family, friends, and those who belong to our Church or political party.  As Jesus tells us in the Sermon on the Mount, our works of mercy must extend even to our enemies.

 

5) Mercy is not always Convenient.  There are times that works of mercy can be planned and fit in an orderly way into our schedule.  But suffering and crisis are often unpredictable.  And responding to them can often be very inconvenient.  The Good Samaritan took a lot of time and went through no small expense to make sure the victim in the story was provided for.  He was probably late for an appointment as a result.

 

Charity, Works of Mercy6) Charity is not the same as Social Work.  While people often refer to anything that benefits the disadvantaged as “charity,” the word actually means divine, supernatural love.  It is action that springs from the love of God which has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5) and must involve not just giving things but giving our ourselves.  We must see God’s image and likeness in the person that benefits from our act and love that person for God’s sake.  There is nothing wrong with making a year-end charitable gift, but if this is to be a true work of mercy, the motivation must be deeper than the wish for a tax write-off.  For St. Francis and Mother Teresa, serving the poorest of the poor was serving Jesus Himself (Matthew 25:34ff).  The work of mercy can and should be a deeply spiritual encounter.

 

7) Mercy is Never Condescending.  The goal of the Ancient Enemy of mankind is to use suffering to rob those made in God’s image of their human dignity.  Our goal in the work of mercy is always to restore that dignity and honor it.  “Charity” that belittles the recipient is never true mercy.  It may relieve some bodily suffering but only causes a deeper suffering of alienation and humiliation.  The Divine Word emptied himself of glory and stood shoulder to shoulder with us.  The one giving mercy cannot look down on the recipient of mercy.  In fact the merciful humbly understand that they always receive as much or more as they give when they work to alleviate the suffering of the needy.

 

Year of the Eucharist, Feast of Faith, Resource on Eucharist, Works of MercyBlessed John Paul II wrote an Encyclical on God the Father near the beginning of His Pontificate.  With all the possible descriptions and titles for God used in Scripture and Tradition, what was he to title such an encyclical?  The answer for him was simple: “Rich in Mercy” (Eph 2:4) God is preeminently the Father of Mercies and the God of all Consolation (2 Corinthians 1:3).  The way we can be recognized as his authentic offspring is by living a lifestyle of mercy.  It is interesting that in the only description of the last judgment in the Bible, salvation or damnation hangs not on how much religious art people have in their houses or how many Masses they’ve attended, but how they’ve treated the least of Jesus’ needy brothers and sisters.

 

For part II of the series, on the Meaning of Mercy, Click Here.

For a list of the Works of Mercy, Click Here!

 

 

 

Download and Print Noah's Ark and Lent

To download and print the Meaning of Mercy - Click Here!

 

For more Catholic resources to feed your faith, visit the Crossroads Initiative Homepage.

 Win a Free CD - Catholic Online Resources

To sign up for our free weekly e-mail with Dr. D'Ambrosio's commentary on the Sunday readings, liturgical feasts, updates on where Dr. D will be speaking, a chance to WIN a FREE CD and MORE, CLICK HERE!

This article is featured in the Eucharist, and the Christian Lifestyle sections of The Crossroads Initiative Library.

 

For a listing of the Works of Mercy, CLICK HERE!

For Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio's aricle on Truly Catholic Mercy, Click Here!

 

 

Feast of Faith - The Transforming Power of the Eucharist

Feast of Faith, Resource on EucharistMake the most of Lent "The Feast of Faith," an enlightening, four-part adult faith formation series (on 2 CDs, or 2 DVDs) guaranteed to unlock the life-changing power of the Eucharist in your life. Be sure to order the Feast of Faith Workbook, you may view it online, to get the most out of this amazing Eucharist Series!

Part One – Sacrifice – discusses how the Mass is a true sacrifice, the “re-presentation” of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross.

Part Two – Real Presence – The uniqueness of Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist is contrasted with the other ways he is present in the world. Out need to be properly prepared to receive Jesus in the Eucharist is discussed in…

Part Three – Preparation – we need to have more faith, more appetite, more repentance, and more forgiveness. Finally…

Part Four – Adoration – explains the meaning and purpose of Eucharistic adoration and offers practical ways we can spend time before our Eucharistic Lord in a way that transforms our lives. This is a must-have series for RCIA and Parish Adult Faith Formation.

Feast of Faith DVD - $49.95

Feast of Faith – CD - $19.95

Feast of Faith Workbook - $6.95 

 


 

Exploring the Catholic Church
 Exploring the Catholic Church Introduction to Catholic Doctrine and Practice, a Roman Catholic Book Exploring the Catholic Church: An Introduction to Catholic Teaching and Practice by Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio is an accessible, affordable Roman Catholic Book--perfect gift for anyone!! -- the inactive Catholic, the Sunday Catholic wanting to know more, Protestants who want to know why Catholics do what they do.

 


 

Handbook of Indulgences -Norms & Grants
 Handbook of Indulgences of the Roman Catholic Church, revised text of the Enchiridion of Indulgences This is the revised edition of the ENCHIRIDION OF INDULGENCES and the official English translation of the Church’s book on indulgences and includes a list of the works and prayers to which indulgences are attached.

 


Psalms: School of Prayer 10 Week CD Set
 Psalms: The School of Prayer 10 Week CD Set This CD series contains the audio from the Psalms DVD series in which Jeff Cavins, Sarah Christmyer, and Dr. Tim Gray provide comprehensive teaching and commentary on the Psalms. Each 50-55 minute talk is designed to follow a lesson in the Psalms Study Set.

 


 

Making the Most out of Lent - CD
 Lent, Catholic Church, Easter, Passion of Jesus Lent is not just about giving up junk food – it is about improving your own spiritual nutrition, and sharing the bread of life with a hungry world. In this talk you'll learn about the biblical and historical origins of the season, how we got the idea that Lent is about "giving stuff up," and how we can nourish ourselves spiritually so that we'll be different people when the Easter Alleluias finally sound in our ears this year.

 


 

The Virtues: Seven Habits of Champions- DVD
 The Virtues: Seven Habits of Champions- DVD Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio offers a spirited 8-part meditation on the four moral virtues - fortitude, prudence, justice and temperance - as well as the three theological virtues of faith, hope and charity. This program lays out how God's inspiration for Christian living is accessible to everyone and demonstrated for us through the lives of the saints.

 


 

BioLean® of the BioLean® Weight Management System - free-shipping

 BioLean of the Bio-Lean weight management & fat-loss system Ephedra-free BioLean®, of the BioLean® Weight Management System, is an excellent natural choice to help jump-start your healthy lifestyle.  Designed to help curb your cravings, promote healthy energy levels, and satisfy your appetite, BioLean® is powered by Advantra Z®, the only patented citrus aurantium extract for weight loss on the market today.  The great thing about BioLean® is that is can help reduce body fat even while promoting the development of lean muscle mass --the only path to long-term, healthy weight loss. 

 


 

BioLean Free of the BioLean Weight Management System - free shipping
 BioLean Free of the BioLean Weight Management system for fat loss and more energy BioLean Free, a component in the BioLean Weight Management System, is a strategic blend of herbs, spices, vitamins, minerals and amino acids designed to satisfy appetite, enhance energy levels, and cause the body to draw energy out of fat stores leading to healthy fat-loss. Free Shipping! (If you are a repeat customer call 1-800-803-0118 to ask about autoshipping and a discount!)


Home | Site Map | Links | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Free Newsletter | Win a CD | Calender | Donate Now!
A ministry of Crossroads Productions, Inc. + PO Box 271227 + Flower Mound, TX 75027 + 1.800.803.0118 + a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.