Make no mistake about it. Our Lord Jesus Christ, True Man and True God, Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, is the source of mercy itself. Also let us not forget that Jesus Himself let us clearly know that we may ask Him for all that we need (Mathew 7:7) but do not be mislead, we are not to ask amiss (James 4:3) but rather petition Our Lord for all that would merit eternal salvation (Mathew 6:33). Jesus also made it clear that He has sent us into the world as sheep among wolves. Among countless deceptions of the wolves, one is the disorientation of mercy. We can know when mercy is being disoriented when we know what mercy actually is. In other words, if your job was to study the authenticity of dollar bills, you would not study the counterfeits as there will likely be innumerable false bills produced. No, you would study the legal tender first making sure you understood everything there is to know about what makes it authentic down to the last detail. Likewise we are to understand the difference between true and false mercy. As I said, there are wolves among us that they would have us believe that mercy has no prerequisites. Yes, I said prerequisites. Let me explain…
Prerequisites of Mercy
Parents: you understand that your children, angels though they are, may act up and do something against your will. Does this mean you hate your children when they disobey you? Certainly not! In truth there is nothing that would make you love your children less. However, in order for them receive forgiveness/reward there are things they must do to reconcile from their transgressions, isn’t there? “Give the toy back and say your sorry for taking it from your brother.” or “Eat one last bite and you can have dessert” etc. Let us also remember St. Paul’s words concerning our Heavenly Father:
And because you are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying: Abba, Father. Therefore now he is not a servant, but a son. And if a son, an heir also through God. – Galatians 4:6-7
Take notice St. Paul used the word, Abba, which is the Greek word for a more intimate version of the word father, like ‘daddy’. And who cannot relate to such an important relationship between a child and his/her daddy!? But as stated before, there is always a prerequisite to receiving the fulfillment of God’s mercy for us.
For example, in our days there are many that wish to be fully united to Jesus Christ through the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. And to be quite honest, there is no higher form of uniformity than receiving Jesus – Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. But those that wish to be united to Christ by way of the Eucharist are either poorly educated on worthy reception of Holy Communion or not educated at all. The Code of Canon Law no. 912 states: Any baptized person not prohibited by law can and must be admitted to holy communion. And there are those that try to remind us that a valid baptism is all that is required to “prayerfully” go forward to receive Holy Communion. However, there is much more that is needed, for example a Protestant could actually have been baptized validly (I Baptize thee in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) but not be raised to believe and follow the Catholic faith. But why is that important you ask? Simply because there are those that believe in vastly different teachings on the Holy Eucharist. From the Council of Trent the officially defined the Doctrine of Transubstantiation, which teaches that Christ is present in the Eucharist by the change of the entire substance of bread and wine into His Body and Blood, was fully indicated as Catholic dogma.
However, Lutheran’s understanding of the Eucharist is that of Consubstantiation, which believes that Jesus only ‘co-exists’ with the hosts and the wine so that Jesus in essence is being received but not truly Jesus Himself. In other words, in a Lutheran “mass” Jesus is only with the “Eucharist” until the worship service is over and therefore there is no abiding Presence of Jesus Christ. Although, strictly speaking, Lutheran “Priests” do not have the authority to confect the Eucharist since they are severed from the Apostolic Truth of the Catholic Church, since validly ordained Priests are the only ones who can confect the Sacraments as defined by the Catholic Church. And so for a Lutheran or any other Protestant to be admitted to the Holy Eucharist found in the Catholic Church it would be devastating…nay, it would be quite literally sacrilegious. Who says? Well, St. Paul for starters,
For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come. Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord. Therefore are there many infirm and weak among you, and many sleep. 1 Cor. 11:26-30
And what of divorced and remarried Catholics? Isn’t it merciful to find some way to get them back to Holy Communion? Yes, of course! However, there are some that wish to under cut Our Lord by trying to reinstate Mosaic Law concerning putting away their previous spouse for another and still remain in good standing with the Church. But what did the Lord come to do?
Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. Mathew 5:17
Moreover the Jews, also trying Jesus, asked:
Why then did Moses command to give a bill of divorce, and to put away? He saith to them: Because Moses by reason of the hardness of your heart permitted you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and he that shall marry her that is put away, committeth adultery. Mathew 19:7-9
If we cannot go to Our Lord to find out what to do then we are lost. Therefore, Examine your Conscience and go to the Sacrament of Penance with true contrition for your sins as a child would go to his/her Abba, father for loving forgiveness. But how can we promote true mercy in this regard? By explaining that it is actually an act of love to have others withheld from Holy Eucharist if they have not yet uniformed themselves with the Doctrinal truth of Jesus’ Church concerning worth reception of Holy Communion. This is no different then uniforming yourself to what your parents want for you concerning what is best for you.
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father from heaven give the good Spirit to them that ask him? Luke 11:13
Do you really think that God, who is all good and knowing does not have a preferred path for you to take for salvation? Is this not Real Mercy…mercy that leads you in Truth rather than what satisfies our carnal desires? Remember, inequality is not the root of all evil but rather the Father of all Lies – Satan. As we battle against powers and principalities in high places, let us remember to pray for all flesh and blood that we may come to the knowledge of the truth and may God have true Mercy on us all. Amen.