I read this past year (I do not recall where) that mercy is that love that keeps evil at bay. Mercy does not permit evil to progress further. And from a priest: Divine Mercy is the greatest exchange of charity. I hope by reflecting on these insights, we may praise God for His unfathomable mercy and seek to become Mercy for others.
You Shall Not Pass
As I sit and type, I am listening to the movie, The Hobbit. I am reminded of one of the previous Lord of the Rings movies where Gandalf takes his staff, strikes it into the rock, and commands the devil creature, “You shall not pass!” The staff pierces into the rock, cracking sounds resonant, and echoes travel with powerful cinematic effects. Gandalf makes way for his friends escape and then falls into the deep abyss to battle the creature. The power behind the action sets a visual effect for us to apply in a sense to Christ’s powerful actions.
Can you picture it? God placing His Son, for all to gaze upon, on the hill of Cavalry. “You shall not pass!” The buck stops here! Although there is no devil creature visually present, as in some movies, Christ IS the staff and keeps evil from progressing any further. He clears a way for His Friends to pass, goes to battle for us all, opens the gates of Heaven. He ushers in Mercy….the great exchange.
The Bite Stops Here
Now taking a look backwards into the Old Testament when the serpents were biting and killing the Israelites. God commanded Moses to put a serpent on the stake and place the stake in the high rock. Any Israelite who gazed on it would be saved from dying from the poisonous bites; a merciful act because it stopped the poison from progressing in those persons, and gave them another chance for living righteously. It may be humorously said that the stake with serpent represented said, “The bite stops here!” All joking aside, there was an exchange. Only those who gazed upon it were saved. It is as if the staff was the pivot point where ones life was based upon.
But is this not also true from the Cross? There Christ hung, the pivot point for all eternity and for every soul….if one chose to gaze upon “Him whom they pierced.” But why the need for the gaze? And what does this have to do with mercy?
In cinematography the scenes can place a strong image into our memories, but nothing that lasts, nothing that enters the heart and soul for lasting transformation. See, not only does the Crucified Christ redirect evil and clear a path for His followers, but He exchanges our weaknesses with His strength. Love put Himself in the direct line of evil, and Charity gives His merits to those who “gaze” from their heart upon Him. Mercy in both cases. He did and does what we cannot do for ourselves. He stopped evil. And He gives us what we need. This is Mercy.
Be Mercy for Others
We are told to “Be Mercy” for others. How? Do what Christ did. Stand firm in the face of evil with Truth. Take on the cross to make others’s crosses lighter. Give to others in need what you have that they do not. But before all this, Gaze on Christ Crucified. Exchange and share your life with His. Let Him give you what you do not have and transform you.
But where can we gaze? A Saint once taught that the Crucifix is the school of Christ. Begin by meditating and gazing upon the Crucifix every day. Give Him your weaknesses. But also, go to the place where Christ is made present every day…..the Mass. The Mass is the eternal “You shall not pass!” to evil. The Sacrifice of the Mass is the Sacrifice of Christ. The once-for-all offering is held up constantly to be Mercy for the world…but through us. Gaze upon and receive Him at the Mass and you are receiving Mercy! The very love that stood in the face of evil, the very charity that was able to give All for all, is offered for you today. Sure there is no cinematography to impress us, but as a blessed priest said recently, “When you come to Mass, you have entered REALITY.”
Let us gaze on Christ and become Mercy for others.