Wishing To Go Unnoticed

I wonder how many times in the Gospels Jesus tells those he has healed not to tell anyone about it, or not to make Him known. It seems contradictory, doesn’t it? I mean, isn’t the whole reason He came to Earth to save the whole world, so that everyone could have a relationship with Him and reach heaven? Why did He insist that people not spread word of His miracles? Was it because He would have literally been bombarded by people from every side, never able to eat or sleep? Was it because His “time had not yet come” and he didn’t want the “bad guys” to find Him before then? Or was it an act of simple and true humility? He didn’t want to be known, so that they wouldn’t applaud Him…

If the latter is the case, I have a lot to learn…

As complex human beings made up of the physical, spiritual, emotional, psychological and otherwise, we seem to tend to seek affirmation that we’re ok people, at least I do. I don’t expect to be a famous superstar, but I do wish to be loved and liked and I would hope that people appreciate the efforts I put into all I do. It almost seems like I would be working in vain if at least ONE person didn’t notice. Right? I appreciate a pat on the back, a congratulatory comment or a “good job!” but maybe I put too much emphasis on it. I know I have a lot to work on when it comes to humility.

Let’s just say that I continued my everyday life, went to work, did my job to the best of my ability, helped out a family member or coworker, came home and took care of the kids, put them lovingly to bed, spent quality time with my husband, listening to him and tending to his needs, and throughout the whole day, not a single person said “thank you” or “you look nice today” or “you did a great job with that”. At the end of the day, how would I feel? Would I be happy to be able to identify with my Lord and Savior who wished to go unnoticed?  I kinda doubt it.

I get defensive and upset whenever anyone decides to correct me or tell me something I did wrong. God forbid I make a mistake! I realize I’m only human, but I find it soooo hard to accept my shortcomings. I want to do everything right and get it right the first time. I want to have the answer before you finish the question. I want to guess what you’re going to say next and have that cute quip ready at the tip of my tongue to make you laugh…

“And in His Name the Gentiles will hope.” (Matthew 12:21)

People do not and should not hope in yours truly, but rather in the Lord.

Dear Jesus, help me to be a beacon of your truth and goodness, your love and joy. May I not seek praise or affirmation for myself, but rather may all the attention be reflected back to you. Amen.

Tami grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at Diocesan, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for almost 20 years.

I Desire Mercy

Today’s Gospel has Jesus saying, “I desire mercy,not sacrifice...”  In an article by Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, he explains the concept this way:

The Latin word, which is the ultimate root of our English word “mercy,” is misericordia. It, in turn, derives from two words: misereri, meaning “to have pity on” or “compassion for” and cor, meaning “heart” (genitive case — cordis: “of the heart”). Mercy, therefore, carries the idea of having compassion on someone with all one’s heart. The latter phrase expresses the idea: “From the very inmost depth (or core) of one’s being.

The Sacred Scriptures show clearly that mercy is the greatest “relative” characteristic of God, the attribute that extends over all He created (e.g., Ps 145:9); and it explains the whole plan of salvation: the power (virtue) of a compassionate heart that shares another’s misery to come to that other’s rescue. Saint Thomas, therefore, can fearlessly profess and demonstrate that, with relation to all that exists in creation, mercy is the greatest divine attribute (Summa Th., IIa IIae30, 4c).

A “composite” definition of “mercy” (based on definitions found in various dictionaries) would go like this: A feeling of tenderness, aroused by someone’s distress or suffering, which inclines (causes) one to spare (abstain from killing/hurting) or to help another who is in one’s power and has no claim whatever to (or is completely undeserving of) kindness. Another definition would be: pardon given to someone who could be punished (often used with reference to God when He forgives sin).

Both these definitions make quite understandable what Pope John Paul II expounded in his encyclical on the Mercy of God in Part VII, no. 13, par. 4:

It is precisely because sin exists in the world, which “God so loved … that He gave His only Son” (Jn 3:16), that God, who “is love” (1 Jn 4:8), cannot reveal Himself otherwise than as mercy.

The essence of mercy is to take into account not only that which is strictly due (as is the case with justice), but also weaknesses, infirmities, and defects of all kinds; and in considering them, to give more than is required by merit and to soften the blow that guilt deservingly brings upon itself through the shutting off, by sin, of the flow of God’s goodness. Divine Mercy, therefore, by no means signifies some sort of sentimental emotion (as certain pagan philosophers saw it, branding it “a weakness excusable only in old people and children”)

Mercy is love, plain and simple. However, as humans we tend to conditionalize love, by placing “if [blank] then I can love” types of boundaries on it. We pray for the issues that we can relate to, people we know and judge (sometimes judging unconsciously, many times not) that other situations are not as dire and choose not to include them in our prayers, our mercy. That is not part of our beliefs as Catholic Christians. God’s love is unconditional and we are meant to imitate his love. 

I forget that I need the mercy of the Lord just as every person in the world does. I am not called to judge or withhold love and mercy. I am called to bring forth the mercy poured out by Christ on the cross into the world. We do this by embracing and embodying the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. 

You know what’s on your heart and on your mind regarding mercy. Listen to this song as a closing prayer, “What Mercy Did for Me”. You know what needs to be done.

Beth is part of the customer care team at Diocesan. She brings a unique depth of experience to the group due to her time spent in education, parish ministries, sales and the service industry over the last 25 yrs. She is a practicing spiritual director as well as a Secular Franciscan (OFS). Beth is quick to offer a laugh, a prayer or smile to all she comes in contact with. Reach her here bprice@diocesan.com.