During the month of May, we will be sharing a different passage from some of our books about Our Lady. We hope they help deepen your knowledge of and love for Mary, the Mother of God!
This passage is from the homily given by Jacques Philippe on December 8, 2015. It appears in the first chapter of his Book Real Mercy.
We need to give thanks to God for this year. Mary herself is the door of mercy because through her the mercy of God entered into the world. We can say that Jesus is the mercy of the Father in person, because through the person of Jesus, the merciful love of the Father was revealed in order to reach everyone - in their sin, their wounds, and their weakness.
The mercy of God is completely free. It is an abundant source of tenderness, generosity, and unconditional love. We have no need to buy it, no need to merit it; it is given to us freely. Mercy is all this love of God. This merciful love of God encounters everyone in his poverty and in his need. In the Latin language the word mercy is made up of two words: "misery and "heart."
This is the heart of God that comes to meet every human misery. The wounds of sin, the evil that lives within us from our sadness and our discouragement - all of these are visited by God's mercy. This free and abundant source comes to every man and woman and takes a particular form according to each one's need. Suffering and distress is really the object of God's tenderness. God is the Good Samaritan who comes to take care of our wounds.
So how can Mary help us to understand and welcome this mystery of mercy? I think her role is very important, even if discrete, as it is every time Mary acts. She never takes the front stage; she always guides us to her Son. Her role is very important, and it's good to entrust ourselves to her and allow her to guide us.
We can talk about many reasons for this, and perhaps the first one is that Mary is the person who is the closest to God. She has the deepest knowledge of God, and it is a knowledge she communicates to us....
Mary plays a very important role in this process. She introduces us to the knowledge of God and his mercy, which is his deepest attribute. Mary also has this grace for another reason: she herself knew the mercy of God. Of course she did not sin, and she didn't need forgiveness, but in the Magnificat she sang of the mercy of God.
She knows that this mercy is a gift from God and that it's completely free. God's mercy is a grace given to Mary in advance, by merit of the sacrifice of the cross. The effusion of mercy that springs forth from the cross, from the very heart of Christ, is what purified Mary. Sometimes God shows his mercy in pardoning sins that have been committed, but sometimes he reveals it in advance by pardoning all the sins that we might commit.
We see that aspect of his mercy in St. Thérèse of Lisieux. She was slightly jealous of Mary Magdalene because Mary Magdalene was forgiven much and she really loved Jesus - and Thérèse didn't sin as much as Mary Magdalene, and she wanted to love Jesus more than anybody. She wrote, "Jesus has forgiven me more than St. Mary Magdalene since He forgave me in advance by preventing me from falling."
"Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she has loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little." (Luke 7:47)
The more we are holy, the more we depend totally on the mercy of God, either for the sins that are forgiven us or for the good that we do, the more all of this comes from grace. Everything is given and everything comes from the mercy of God, not from our merit but from the free love of God.
Therefore Mary is the richest of all creatures, the holiest and the most beautiful, but also the humblest and the poorest because she knows that she has received everything from God. She has received everything from God freely, and so she gives everything freely. There is nothing left for her - there is only God who passes through her in complete humility and poverty of heart. More than the greatest sinners, Mary knows the mercy of God, and she can help us to understand it in all its depth.