By Fr. Francis Fernandez-Carvajal
3/82.1 God’s mercy is infinite, eternal and universal.
Saint Paul calls God the Father of mercies, thus indicating God’s infinite compassion towards mankind, whom He loves dearly. Few other truths, perhaps, are insisted on as repeatedly as this particular truth: God is infinitely merciful; He has infinite compassion on men, particularly on those who have to bear the greatest of all misfortunes – sin. Scripture uses a great variety of terms and images – so that we should really learn the lesson – to teach us that God’s mercy is eternal, that is to say without limit in time. It is immense, without limitation of place or space. It is universal, since it is not restricted to one nation or one race, and it is as extensive and wide-ranging as are the needs of man.
That the Son of God, the Word, took flesh is a proof of this divine mercy. He came to forgive, to reconcile men with one another and with their Creator. Meek and humble of heart, He offers relief and rest to all who suffer tribulation. The Apostle James calls the Lord compassionate and merciful. In the Epistle to the Hebrews Christ is the merciful high priest, and this attitude of God towards mankind is ever the reason for his salvific action. He never tires of forgiving men, of encouraging them to journey towards their definitive homeland, and to overcome their weaknesses and the pain and deficiencies they may encounter in this life. The truth, revealed in Christ, about God ‘the Father of mercies’, enables us ‘to see him’ as particularly close to man, especially when man is suffering, when he is under threat at the very heart of his existence and dignity. This is why the unchanging plea the afflicted (the lepers, the blind, the lame ...) make to Jesus is have mercy on us.
Jesus’ goodness towards men – towards all of us – goes far beyond human reckoning. That man who fell among robbers who stripped him and beat him and went away leaving him half dead ... It was He who comforted him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. He it was who then made him mount on his own horse, and found accommodation for him at that inn, so that he should be cared for. It was He who paid a large amount of money for him, and promised the inn-keeper that, on his return, He would pay him whatever more He should spend. He has taken the same care of each individual man. Time and again He has lifted us up when we have been badly injured, He has poured balm into our wounds, and has bound them up. Our salvation is in his mercy; in just the same way as the sick, the blind and the crippled have done, we must turn to the Tabernacle and say to him: Jesus have mercy on me ... God pours out his mercy in a special way through the sacrament of Penance. There he cleanses us from our sins, welcomes us, cures us, washes our wounds, gives us respite ... Moreover, in this sacrament He completely heals us and we receive new life.
 First Reading of the Mass, Year I, 2 Cor 1:1-7
 Ps 100
 Matt 11:28
 Jas 5:11
 Heb 2:17
 Tit 2:11; 1 Pet 1:3
 John Paul II, Dives in misericordia, 30 November 1980, 2
 Matt 9:27; 14:20; 15:22; 20:30; Mark 10:47; Luke 17:13
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rev. Francis Fernandez-Carvajal
Rev. Francis Fernández-Carvajal is a Priest of the Opus Dei Prelature and the author of many popular spiritual works. His seven-volume series In Conversation with God provides over 500 meditations to be used throughout the liturgical year. It has sold over 2 million copies and has been translated into many languages.
In Conversation With God