I thought this discourse on the Psalms, taken from St. Augustine of Hippo as the Second Reading of the Office of Readings might be pertinent…I’ll quote most of the whole thing–go to the link for the rest.
“All the trees of the forest will exult before the face of the Lord, for he has come, he has come to judge the earth. He has come the first time, and he will come again. At his first coming, his own voice declared in the gospel: Hereafter you shall see the Son of Man coming upon the clouds. What does he mean by hereafter? Does he not mean that the Lord will come at a future time when all the nations of the earth will be striking their breasts in grief ? Previously he came through his preachers, and he filled the whole world. Let us not resist his first coming, so that we may not dread the second.
All the trees of the forest will exult. He has come the first time, and he will come again to judge the earth; he will find those rejoicing who believed in his first coming, for he has come.
He will judge the world with equity and the peoples in his truth. What are equity and truth? He will gather together with him for the judgment his chosen ones, but the others he will set apart; for he will place some on his right, others on his left. What is more equitable, what more true than that they should not themselves expect mercy from the judge, who themselves were unwilling to show mercy before the judge’s coming. Those, however, who were willing to show mercy will be judged with mercy. For it will be said to those placed on his right: Come, blessed of my Father, take possession of the kingdom which has been prepared for you from the beginning of the world. And he reckons to their account their works of mercy: For I was hungry and you gave me food to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me drink.
What is imputed to those placed on his left side? That they refused to show mercy. And where will they go? Depart into the everlasting fire. The hearing of this condemnation will cause much wailing. But what has another psalm said? The just man will be held in everlasting remembrance; he will not fear the evil report. What is the evil report? Depart into the everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels. Whoever rejoices to hear the good report will not fear the bad. This is equity, this is truth.
Or do you, because you are unjust, expect the judge not to be just? Or because you are a liar, will the truthful one not be true? Rather, if you wish to receive mercy, be merciful before he comes; forgive whatever has been done against you; give of your abundance. Of whose possessions do you give, if not from his? If you were to give of your own, it would be largess; but since you give of his, it is restitution. For what do you have, that you have not received?These are the sacrifices most pleasing to God: mercy, humility, praise, peace, charity. Such as these, then, let us bring and, free from fear, we shall await the coming of the judge who will judge the world in equity and the peoples in his truth.”
–-St. Augustine of Hippo, Discourse on the Psalms, taken from Office of Readings for 19 Nov. 2017
I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.
Running down the origin of this quote was a lot of fun. It sounded like something that Abraham Lincoln would have said, but I had difficulty finding a source for it. It is cited all over the internet, but no reference is given other than a speech in 1865, and such a lack of citation is often the sign of a spurious quote. After some searching I found it. It is sourced in a conversation that Joseph Gillespie had with Abraham Lincoln. Gillespie was a fellow member with Lincoln of the Illinois General Assembly. With Lincoln he helped found the Republican party in Illinois. Elected a circuit court judge in 1861, he helped set up the Illinois Appellate Court.
During a visit to Washington in Spring of 1864, Gillespie met with Lincoln and, among other subjects they discussed, Lincoln mentioned the problem of captured paroled Confederate troops who were found in arms before they had properly been exchanged:
These men are liable to be put to death when recaptured for breach of parole. If we do not do something of that sort, this outrage will be repeated on every occasion…It is indeed a serious question, and I have been more sorely tried by it than any other that has occurred during the war. It will be an act of great injustice to our soldiers to allow the paroled rebels to be put into the field without exchange. Such a practice would demoralize almost any army in the world if played off upon them. It would be nearly impossible to induce them to spare the lives of prisoners they might capture. On the other hand, these men were no doubt told by their superiors that they had been exchanged and it would be hard to put them to death under any circumstances. On the whole, my impression is that mercy bears richer fruits than any other attribute. Continue Reading
Chaplain: I think it’s up to each one of us to interpret what God wants.
Dying Doctor: So people can do anything? They can rape, they can murder, they can steal, all in the name of God, and it’s ok?
Chaplain: That’s not what I’m saying.
Dying Doctor: What are you saying? Because all I’m hearing is some New Age, God is love, one-size-fits-all crap! I don’t have time for this now!
Chaplain: I understand.
Dying Doctor: No, you don’t understand! You don’t understand! How could you possibly say that? No, you listen to me. I want a real chaplain who believes in a real God and a real hell.
ER: Atonement-Season 14, Episode 13
David Griffey at Daffey Thoughts brings us the above video which powerfully explains why cheap grace saves absolutely no one. God is all Just and all Merciful and when we forget either of those attributes we are lost indeed.
Works of Penance, Frequent Confession, Mortification, Almsgiving is by Father Francis Fernandez Carvajal from his series on meditations In Conversation with God, Daily Meditations Volume Two: Lent and Eastertide, 1.2:
True conversion is shown by the way we behave. We show that we really want to improve by the way we do our work or our study. We show it by the way we behave towards our family; by offering up to God, in the course of the day, little mortifications which make life for those around us more pleasant, and which make our work more effective. We can also show it by making a careful preparation for and going frequently to Confession.
Today God asks us also for a rather special mortification, which we offer up cheerfully: it is fasting and abstinence, which strengthens our spirit as it mortifies our flesh and our sensuality. It raises our soul to God. It gets rid of concupiscence by giving us the strength to overcome and to mortify our passions, and it disposes our heart that it may seek for nothing except to please God in everything.9
[Updates at the bottom of this posting; latest update on 1-26-2010 at 12:24pm CST]
The Catholic blogosphere is currently in an uproar over an event that occurred at Saint James Church on Friday, January 15, 2010 A.D. when a Christian youth group requested and organized an event to draw more young adults into the Catholic Church. This seemed as an innocuous request since the parish in the past held a classical piano concert in honor of the church’s founder Father Felix Valera.