Saturday, 7 December 2013

Mercy - why we need to ask for it

Asking for mercy in the Jesus Prayer can at first sight seem like grovelling in abject self-condemnation, but there is much more to it than that. Reading Frederica Mathewes-Green's excellent book "The Jesus Prayer" she writes:

"...we ask for mercy because we are sick with sin, and will go on sinning. Even though we are as confident as beloved children in our Father's compassion, we grieve because we contribute more to the planet's suffering every day. The tragedies in each morning's news were assisted in some small way by yesterday's stupid, selfish, fearful choices. We are helplessly entangled in sin and suffering, and only Jesus' touch will heal us. We cry out with the blind, lame, and paralyzed of his day: Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us.

God doesn't need us to remind him to be merciful; he is merciful to us all the time, even when we don't ask. But unless we make a habit of asking for mercy, we forget that we need it. Ego builds a cardboard fortress that humility must, every day, tear down."
The Jesus Prayer page 9

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