Josemaría Escrivá Obras
 
 
 
 
 
 
  Christ is passing by > The Christian vocation > Number 7
7

Today marks the beginning of Advent. And it is good for us to consider the wiles of these enemies of the soul: the disorder of sensuality and easy-going superficiality, the folly of reason that rejects God, the cavalier presumption that snuffs out love for both God and creatures. All these obstacles are real enough, and they can indeed cause us a great deal of trouble. For these very reasons the liturgy invites us to implore divine mercy: "To you, o Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust, let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me," as we prayed in the introit. And in the offertory we shall go back to the same idea: "Let none that wait for you be put to shame."

Now that the time of our salvation is approaching, it is consoling to hear from the lips of St Paul that "when the goodness and kindness of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not by the works of justice which we have done, but according to his mercy."

If you leaf through the holy Scripture, you will discover constant references to the mercy of God. Mercy fills the earth. It extends to all his children, and is "all around us." It "watches over me." It "extends to the heavens" to help us, and has been continually "confirmed". God in taking care of us as a loving father looks on us in his mercy — a mercy that is "tender", welcome as "rain-clouds".

The life of Jesus Christ is a summary and compendium of the story of divine mercy: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." And on another occasion our Lord said: "Be merciful, therefore, even as your Father is merciful." Many other scenes of the Gospel have also made a deep impact on us, such as his forgiveness of the adulterous woman, the parable of the prodigal son, that of the lost sheep, that of the pardoned debtor, the resurrection of the son of the widow at Naim. How many reasons based on justice could Christ have found to work this great wonder! The only son of that poor widow had died, he who gave meaning to her life, he who could help her in her old age. But Jesus didn't perform the miracle out of justice, but out of compassion, because his heart was moved by human suffering.

What security should be ours in considering the mercy of the Lord! "He has but to cry for redress, and I, the ever merciful, will listen to him." It is an invitation, a promise that he will not fail to fulfil. "Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." The enemies of our sanctification will be rendered powerless if the mercy of God goes before us. And if through our own fault and human weakness we should fall, the Lord comes to our aid and raises us up. "You had learned to avoid negligence, to flee from arrogance, to grow in piety, not to be a prisoner of worldly matters, to prefer the eternal to the passing. But since human weakness cannot maintain a steady pace in such a slippery world, the good doctor has prescribed remedies for not getting lost and the merciful judge has not led you to despair of pardon."

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