Pope Francis writes, “Jesus is the face of the Father’s mercy–he reveals the mercy of God by his words, actions and person.” Jesus showed compassion and forgiveness to all those whose lives he touched, even those who persecuted him. No sin or wrongdoing was strong enough to outweigh the limitless mercy of our incarnate God. We too, with Jesus as our model, are called to be the merciful face, hands and voice of God to everyone we meet in our daily lives.
As a hospice nurse, each day I witness the mercy of Jesus in the actions of friends and families caring for loved ones in the midst of terminal illness. Some days families are at their best, and some days families are at their worst. But regardless of peace or struggle, the limitless self-sacrifice of caregivers in ministering to their loved ones is the embodiment of mercy and compassion, and the surrendering of the dying to the mercy of caregivers is the embodiment of humility and trust.
With Jesus as my model, and with patients and families as my inspiration, I strive each day to be a healing and merciful presence to others. Some days I am at my best, and some days I am at my worst. But through the mercy and forgiveness of God, I have the grace to begin each day with a clean slate, free to live out God’s call to be merciful to the best of my ability. Such grace is open to all of us, and it is the fullness of the gift of God’s mercy.