I had a brief discussion with my 8th grade CCD class on whether God could forgive people who have committed heinous sins. They brought up the usual questions. They mentioned Hitler and the Nazi’s, an abortionist and a murderer. To all the circumstances I replied as I always have, “God’s mercy is bigger than any sin, no matter how heinous and if a person truly repents they will receive that mercy.”
It’s the same message I gave to the Abortionists I met as a sidewalk counselor. It’s the same message I have given to countless people at retreats or talks and when I say it there is great conviction in my heart that it is true.
Many of you probably have the same conviction about the deep mercy of God. But many of you may also struggle, like I do, in understanding how God’s mercy can apply to us personally. For some reason it is much easier for me to understand how God can be merciful to a heinous sinner than to understand that God could have mercy for me.
You see I know my soul all too well. I know how many times I have turned away from the one who I love. I know how many promises and vows I have made to my Lord only to break them within hours. I know that it must hurt my Lord for me to be constantly unfaithful to Him. Just when I think He could never forgive me and take me back I am reminded of His promises and remember that He will always take me back.
His mercy for the repentant heinous sinner is great and blows me away…but His constant mercy to me, His constant willingness to take me back, His constant searching for me when I run away, His deep mercy in my life is all but unfathomable.
But it is real; therefore let us throw ourselves continually into the mercy of God until we sink so deep into that wonderful ocean we cannot leave.
Lord, we thank you for your great, unfathomable, mercy.
Most Gently, the finger of your Justice, in love and compassion, touches the wounds of him who is to be healed.
St. Ephrem the Syrian
Dave VanVickle is a Catholic speaker and writer focusing on the Universal Call to Holiness and Authentic Catholic Spirituality. He is currently employed as the Director of Evangelization for the parishes of the Catholic Community of Wexford, PA.