The First Steps towards understanding Mercy

        Today our youngest, John Paul, got serious about crawling.  A few little steps and lunges at a time, but it is the beginning of his journey towards independence.  The troubles and joys this will bring will arise in the minds of each and every parent who survived it at least once.

    One of the interesting things about our John Paul, compared to his four siblings, is his very delayed desire to crawl.  The fact is the boy loves his standing bouncy toy.  He bounces in that thing for hours each day.  He also realizes if you walk, your hands can play with toys when you go places.  So the reality is, crawling is not a very efficient or fun use of time.  So after some coaching, the boy finally realized all the pieces for walking are not in place yet…so crawling is not such a step down.

    Today I decided to join the nine day consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary being directed by Father Heilman of the website The Roman Catholic Man (Nine Day Consecration) using the writings of St. Maximilian Kolbe.  I’m already glad I did the reading and lesson…because like John Paul I found myself wanting to walk faster in faith, but I found myself without all the necessary tools.

   The one lesson I gained the most from today is the need for mercy in the grand plan for creation.  I recently came to understand grace as the extension of kindness to the unworthy, and mercy as the withholding of a justified punishment.  This made sense, but how does that relate to our salvation.

   St. Maximillian Kolbe explains the role of mercy in salvation history in the form of a math problem we all once faced in middle school.  Remember the problem where the teacher says:”To win this game you must obtain 100 apples.  I will start you with 33.  How long will it take you to obtain 100 apples if I give you 1/3 of difference you are missing each day?”  At first you say two days!  1/3 each day!  Then reality sets in.  

    You realize each day you would get only 1/3 of the way to the objective each day no matter how hard you try.  Even when you are down to one apple, the teacher will only give you a third of the remaining apple needed to reach victory.   Therefore you will NEVER reach 100 apples because I will keep giving you smaller and smaller slices for ever!

  Having the sun shine on us as we collect those apple parts would be a whole lot of grace.  But to reach 100 apples you need a game changer.  That game changer would be mercy from someone who will bridge the gap by giving you some of his apples, I will not provide, to reach 100.

  This is the mercy we need from God everyday.  We are imperfect creatures, and no matter how hard we try will always be imperfect.  God took care of this imperfection problem by providing a game changing assist. God the creator of our souls, worked through the Holy Spirit to place Jesus in our physical world as the son of Mary.  

    God became one of us, spoke to us, broke open the gates of hell, and offered each of us a spot in his family through his offer of adoption.  These acts provide us the missing “apples” to put 100 in in our basket if we but stay on track to be in his family.  This offer of mercy still must be earned, but it sits on the table for all to take advantage of if we are smart enough to grasp it.

    Quite a lesson, and there was so much more…what a wonderful journey to start crawling on.