What She Said…

My daughter, Tara, on the day after her birthday. We had mussels and artisan beer at The Shire. Mmmm!

Like our dear Altar Ego, the Gentle Yankee and author of Reverent Irreverence,  I have shied away from posting my opinions on the latest hot topics debated by loving (and the not-so-loving) Christians everywhere.

Until now, of course.

And, even now, I’m just going to let Altar Ego Anne tell it like it is, and I’ll just say, “Yeah, what she said.”

Go read her words.

And then read what Joan Chittister has to say about Mercy:

Mercy is What God Does for Us

Mercy is what God does for us. Mercy discounts the economic sense of love and faith and care for a person and lives out of a divine sense of love instead. Mercy gives a human being who does not “deserve” love, love. And why? Because, the Scriptures answer, God know of what we are made.

The fact is that we are all made of the same thing: clay, the dust of the earth, the frail, fragile, shapeless thing from which we come and to which we will all return some day. We are all capable of the same things. Our only hope is that when we are all sitting somewhere bereft, exposed, outcast, humiliated and rejected by the rest of society, someone, somewhere will “reach out a hand and lift us up.”

Mercy is the trait of those who realize their own weakness enough to be kind to those who are struggling with theirs. It is, as well, the measure of the God-life in us.

Beware those who show no mercy. They are dangerous people because they have either not faced themselves or are lying to themselves about what they find there. “We are all sinners,” we say, and then smile the words away. But the essayist Montaigne was clear about it: “There is no one so good,” he wrote, “who, were they to submit all their thoughts and actions to the laws, would not deserve hanging ten times in life.”

It is our very weaknesses that enable us to understand the power, the necessity of mercy.

The Sufi mystic Mishkat al-Masabaih reminds us, when we are overwhelmed by our own inadequacies, our own diversions from the straight paths of life, that the mercy of God is always greater than the sin of being too humanly human. He writes: “She who approaches near to Me one span, I will approach near to her one cubit; and she who approaches near to Me one cubit, I will approach near to her one fathom; and whoever approaches Me walking, I will come to her running; and she who meets Me with sins equivalent to the whole world, I will greet her with forgiveness equal to it.”

The mercy we show to others is what assures us that we do not need to worry about being perfect ourselves. All we really need to do is to make the effort to be the best we can be, knowing we will often fail. Then, the mercy of others, the mercy of God is certain for us, as well. “The only thing we can offer to God of value,” St. Catherine of Siena said, “is to give our love to people as unworthy of it as we are of God’s love.”

–from God’s Tender Mercy: Reflections on Forgiveness by Joan Chittister

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~ by Kimberly Mason on August 19, 2010.

7 Responses to “What She Said…”

  1. I have toned down my own rhetoric on FB after I “friended” many folks with whom I went to high school, whose political beliefs are 180 dgs removed from my own. But I just found an article that says how to “hide from friends you don’t like,” so maybe I’ll get my voice back.

    • Some of my favorite people “like” Sarah Palin and other such ridiculous things on facebook. I know just what you’re talking about. My momma taught me to just smile real purty at those that just don’t know any better. 😛

  2. When I read Altar Ego this morning my head was bobbing up and down, “Oh yeah, oh yeah”! I rarely read Huffington Post any more because so many articles make my head (and heart) hurt.
    I live in an area that is very conservative, very right wing. I sit in my cubicle at work biting my tongue sometimes until I think it will bleed. I NEED to move! 🙂

  3. Aww, thanks for the shout out. I added a link since you were there, at the very bottom–a GREAT piece on Huff about 9/11 happening to all of us. So sensible. I didn’t blog for days because this was all I wanted to talk about, and knew I just had to do it.

  4. Thank you for reminded me of the great contribution Joan Chittiser makes to our world….she’s constantly encouraging us and I appreciate her.

    As a Canadian woman, may I ask why Sarah Palin is so popular with women in the U.S. I truly don’t understand and let me be clear, I don’t wish her ill anything, just wonder what’s going on with our world if she makes sense to so many?

  5. I second that emotion, re: Alter Ego Anne: preach on! I also laughed out loud at this: “My momma taught me to just smile real purty at those that just don’t know any better.” Yep. Finally, I sympathize re: Fb conflicts, esp. as I am a notorious ranter. I go there to farm and play with my pet sheep, and occasionally rant, but for the most part I have stopped challenging misguided souls who love Sarah Palin *rolls eyes*

  6. The thing that keeps popping into my head during this debate is that there is a interfaith chapel at Dachau. Not a Jewish only chapel but a chapel that embraces the Christian faith of the people who did the murdering on the very site.

    Besides, the new mosque is for a group who already has a space in the area that they’ve outgrown. From the news coverage you’d think it was some kind of invasion of outsiders, not people who already worship there anyway.

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