Like you, I want the world to be a better place. The place it could be if we all lived our faith, knew our value, and loved our neighbor. Approaching my 40th birthday, I considered many decadent ways to mark the passage of time. I was thinking of something along the lines of a tiara, champagne, gondola ride, and miniature monkeys dressed in tuxedos fanning me. Instead, I spent the year practicing the timeless mercy of God through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Don’t worry if you don’t know what that means. Works of mercy are a list of how to live God’s greatest commandment to love our neighbor. I explain it here. Or you can read about it here.
I volunteered at the soup kitchen, Florida State Prison, and the homeless shelter. I counseled a woman considering an abortion at the Women’s Help Center. I picked up trash with my family on the riverbank, passed out clothes to those in need, and worked alongside women impacted by the sex trade industry.
When I began I had no idea what mercy meant, nor all it would come to mean. But now I feel like I have this amazing secret that I want to share. I unequivocally believe in the power of mercy to change lives. It’s changed mine. I wasn’t someone lacking food, rather I was hungry for the mercy of God that finally made me realize I was loved unconditionally, forgiven infinitely, and cherished despite my brokenness. If you are open to it, mercy can change your life too. Understanding mercy has allowed me to know the love of God and my neighbor in an entirely deeper and more meaningful way.
What I did that year wasn’t as significant as it was soul-changing by realizing the profound impact of simple mercies. I wrote Simple Mercies: How the Works Of Mercy Bring Peace and Fulfillment because I wanted to show that our everyday compassion makes a difference in exponential ways. We don’t have to join the Peace Corps to be missionaries of mercy when we encounter friends, family, and co-workers in daily life who also need compassion. Service shouldn’t feel like another chore. Instead, it’s a way to connect with God and fill the chasm of our hearts.
Through the works of mercy, I found less striving, less busying, less dissatisfaction, less emptiness, and more time for my relationship with God, my family, and the people I love. Mostly, through God’s mercy, I found myself.
I want you to see yourself and your neighbors through the merciful eyes of Jesus, too. I want you to know the sacred satifaction that can comes from even the simplest act of service. I want you to know the redemption available to all of us and your undonditional value as a child of God.
Anthropologist Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” So, let’s change the world! Join this community who has enough faith in ourselves, in humanity, and in God to believe that through his mercy this is possible.
Mercy Me! We’ve got work to do. . . .