You have said many times, “God never tires of forgiving, it is we who get tired of asking for forgiveness.” Why does God never tire of forgiving us?
Because he is God, because he is mercy, & because mercy is the first attribute of God. Mercy is the name of God. There are no situations we cannot get out of; we are not condemned to sink into quicksand, in which the more we move the deeper we sink. Jesus is there, his hand extended, ready to reach out to us & pull us out of the mud, out of sin, out of the abyss of evil into which we have fallen. We need only be conscious of our state, be honest with ourselves, & not lick our wounds. We need to ask for the grace to recognise ourselves as sinners. The more we acknowledge that we are in need, the more shame & humility we feel, the sooner we will feel his embrace of grace. Jesus waits for us, he goes ahead of us, he extends his hand to us, he is patient with us. God is faithful. Mercy will always be greater than any sin; no one can put a limit on the love of the all-forgiving God. Just by looking at him, just by raising our eyes from our selves & our wounds, we leave an opening for the action of his grace. Jesus performs miracles with our sins, with what we are, with our nothingness, with our wretchedness. I think of the miracle of the “Wedding at Cana,” the first miracle, which was literally “forced” out of Jesus by his mother. Jesus transforms water into wine, into fine wine, the best wine. He does it using water from the urns that were needed for ritual purification, for the washing away of one’s spiritual impurities. The Lord does not produce the wine out of nothing he uses the water that has “washed away” sins, water that contains impurities. He performs this miracle with something that to us appears impure. He transforms it, making it clear that “where sin increased, grace abounds all the more,” as Paul says in the Letter to the Romans (5.20). The Church Fathers speak of this, & Saint Ambrose in particular says: “The offence did us more good than harm, because it gave divine mercy the opportunity to redeem us” (De institutione virginis, 104). & later: “God preferred that there should be more men to save & whose sense he could forgive, rather than have only Adam remaining free from fault” (De paradiso,47). (The Name of God is Mercy; Pope Francis)
In this World Week for Peace in Palestine & Israel please pray for a peace process to end 50 yrs of Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. Anthony Glaister will be selling jams & home-made produce after Mass this weekend & next for ABCD Bethlehem the disabled children’s charity. As part of the preparatory work for the Community’s move to Bolton House next month, I have had to relocate my Office in the West Wing to the second floor. Telephone arrangements mean that I have to have a separate telephone number in my bedroom. If there is an urgent sick call during the night my new number is 741109. My day number remains 766819. Next Saturday I will be in Belfast leading a workshop on Benedictine Spirituality at the Diocesan Faith & Life Convention 2017, where the keynote address will be given by Cardinal Kevin Farrell, who leads the Dicastery for Laity, Family & Life. Fr Luke will be here to celebrate 6pm Vigil Mass. With my love & prayers. Fr Bede.