We begin by remembering how the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines mercy: “The loving kindness, compassion, or forbearance shown to one who offends (i.e., the mercy of God to us sinners).” In the spirit of that definition, as we pray monthly for mercy in various areas we, then, are not asking for prayers or grace in general but specifically for the grace of mercy, which involves forgiveness.
And we are beginning with ourselves.
In this first month of our Year of Mercy campaign let us pray for everyone involved in the NFP community: couples who practice it, providers of all methods and those who teach and promote NFP. Just because we’re already “on board” with NFP and God’s plan for human sexuality doesn’t mean we are exempt from needing his mercy in this area of our lives. Before we endeavor to pray for mercy for others we need to begin by asking God to have mercy on us.
We need mercy for those times we:
- Fail to stay convicted
- Do not support one another as we should on this NFP journey, whether that be with our spouse or fellow Christians
- Do not practice NFP virtuously, or remain closed to life for less than sufficiently serious reasons or do not seek God’s will when discerning
- Do not maintain a merciful disposition toward those whose hearts are not yet open to God’s plan for marital love
- Fail to draw others to NFP through our actions and witness
- Are less than good and authentic examples of God’s love in the world
“Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” We often hear this song in church and even in commercials around Christmastime. Those of us who practice and/or endorse NFP are committed to loving unselfishly. We also know how hard this can be. It’s hard to make a gift of self in every situation life throws at us. No one can do this 100% of the time. But, the choice to try to love as God loves, to want to love as God loves, is a choice each one of us must continually make if we want peace in our families, our communities — and yes — on Earth. So, let us pray for God’s mercy to be upon us all for those times we fall short, that we may grow to truly mirror his love in our world.
Almighty God, your plan for marriage is based on the sacrificial love of Jesus for his bride, the Church. In your mercy, reawaken your people to the greatness of Our Lord’s sacrifice and help us to willingly share in that sacrifice for the good of spouses and families, for the good of the Church and society.
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Don’t forget to send your prayer offerings to Sarah Drew at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can add them to our spiritual bouquet. May we have a beautiful and abundant offering for Mary at the close of the Year of Mercy.
God bless you!