“God, in his mercy, inspired me…”
A recent edition of the Asian-Oceania E-Bulletin focused on the Divine Mercy devotion. Reading Fr Stanislas Filipek’s article on the effect God’s mercy had in the heart and soul of a young man who had been badly scarred during the genocide I thought of Vincent Pallotti and his experience of God’s mercy.
An incident in St Vincent’s life that stands out for me took place in Camaldoli in July 1839. Vincent went to the monastery on 10 July to recuperate and remained there until 28 Oct. He recorded his experience in these words:
“It was in 1839 and … Jesus Christ wished to show me mercy ….I left for the hermitage of the Camaldolese Monks near Frascati with the trust and confidence that God had disposed to give me in that hermitage, the graces and the illuminations which I was in need of, in order to write on the Society (Union) of Catholic Apostolate; this confidence and trust was upheld by the obedience I showed to my confessor …. On arrival at the hermitage God in his mercy inspired me to attend seriously during the course of several days to a reordering of my poor spirit, and so I found myself immersed in an immense sea of divine mercy.”
Vincent wrote powerfully of his experience of God’s infinite mercy and love and of the transforming effect it had throughout the remainder of his life. He could later pray:
“My Jesus (…) make me always aware of and experience my nothingness, so that I may be all you, lost in you, transformed in you, in the Father, in the Holy Spirit and that I may be all of your attributes, of your will and of your love”.
A poem on the mercy of God by the late Jessica Powers (Sr Miriam of the Holy Spirit) has also struck a chord with me:
The Mercy of God
I am copying down in a book from my heart’s archives
the day that I ceased to fear God with a shadow fear.
Would you name it the day that I measured my column of virtue
and sighted through windows of merit a crown that was near?
Ah, no, it was rather the day I began to see truly
that I came forth from nothing and ever toward nothingness tend,
that the works of my hands are a foolishness wrought in the presence
of the worthiest king in kingdom that never shall end.
I rose up from the acres of self that I tended with passion
and defended with flurries of pride;
I walked out of myself and went into the woods of God’s mercy,
and here I abide.
There is greenness and calmness and coolness, a soft leafy covering
from the judgment of sun overhead,
and the hush of His peace, and the moss of His mercy to tread.
I have naught but my will seeking God; even love burning in me
is a fragment of infinite loving and never my own.
and I fear God no more; I go forward to wander forever
in the wilderness made of His infinite mercy alone.
In this poem, Sr. Miriam with the deft brush-strokes of an artist uses words to evoke visual images. I like Vincent’s image of being immersed in a sea of divine mercy and Miriam’s lovely image of walking out of self and into the woods of God’s mercy and abiding there.
Derry Murphy sac [IR] – Dublin – IRELAND