The Power of the Mercy of God
March 3, 2013 The Power of the Mercy of God
Lent is a time in which we seek the forgiveness of God through penance. We seek his forgiveness because we trust in his mercy. God is merciful. Today we will see two characteristics of God that are very related to his mercy: God is almighty, and God is the creator. In this way we will see how real the mercy of God is.
1. God is almighty
“To confess this power has great bearing on our lives. We believe that his might is universal, for God who created everything also rules everything and can do everything” (268). "He does whatever he pleases" (Psalm 115:3) “If God is almighty "in heaven and on earth" (Psalm 135:6), it is because he made them. Nothing is impossible with God […]. He is the Lord of history, governing hearts and events in keeping with his will” (269).
"You are merciful to all, for you can do all things" (Wisdom 11:23). God can even change the person who was a sinner, God can make good the one who was bad, make good by his grace one who was evil by his own fault. “He displays his power at its height by freely forgiving sins” (270).
The mystery of God's apparent powerlessness [the mystery of evil]. “God can sometimes seem to be absent and incapable of stopping evil. But in the most mysterious way God the Father has revealed his almighty power in the voluntary humiliation and Resurrection of his Son, by which he conquered evil” (273). To conquered sin is a much greater miracle than to raise up someone who is dead, because it is a miracle in our soul. But we cannot see with our eyes this miracle, “Only faith can embrace the mysterious ways of God's almighty power”. But if we believe, we will be able like Mary to magnify the Lord: "For he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name." Mary first believed, and then she could see the power of God working at her (cf. 273).
It is most important to understand and believe that nothing is impossible with God. Only in that way, we will easily “admit everything that [the Creed] will afterwards propose for us to believe”. The creed proposes to us “marvelous things, far above the ordinary laws of nature”, and we believe them because nothing is impossible with God, as the Angel said to the Virgin Mary.
2. God is Creator
“Catechesis on creation is of major importance […] for it makes explicit the response of the Christian faith to the basic question that men of all times have asked themselves: "Where do we come from?" "Where are we going?"” (282).
The Catechism appreciates whatever is true in science about the origins in the world, as something that makes us admire still more the greatness of the Wisdom of God (cf. 283). Among the wrong philosophical approaches to Creation, the Catechism talks about those who “have said that everything is God, that the world is God, or that the development of the world is the development of God (Pantheism)” and those who “reject any transcendent origin for the world, but see it as merely the interplay of matter that has always existed (Materialism)”.
“The existence of God the Creator can be known with certainty through his works, by the light of human reason. […] Faith comes to confirm and enlighten reason in the correct understanding of this truth: "By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear" (Heb. 11:3). “God reveals himself as the One to whom belong all the peoples of the earth, and the whole earth itself; he is the One who alone "made heaven and earth" (Psalm 115:15; 124:8; 134:3)” (287).
“Among all the Scriptural texts about creation, the first three chapters of Genesis occupy a unique place”. These texts “express in their solemn language the truths of creation - its origin and its end in God, its order and goodness, the vocation of man, and finally the drama of sin and the hope of salvation” (289).
Creation is the work of the Holy Trinity: “"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth": three things are affirmed in these first words of Scripture: the eternal God gave a beginning to all that exists outside of himself; he alone is Creator (the verb "create" - Hebrew bara - always has God for its subject). The totality of what exists (expressed by the formula "the heavens and the earth") depends on the One who gives it being” (290).
“"In the beginning was the Word. . . and the Word was God. . . all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made." (John 1:1-3) […] The Church's faith likewise confesses the creative action of the Holy Spirit”. “By the LORD'S word the heavens were made; by the breath of his mouth all their host” (Psalm 33:6) “He made all things by himself, that is, by his Word and by his Wisdom” […] “by the Son and the Spirit” who, so to speak, are "his hands". Creation is the common work of the Holy Trinity.
The world was made for the glory of God. “St. Bonaventure explains that God created all things "not to increase his glory, but to show it forth and to communicate it"”. The First Vatican Council explains: “This one, true God, of his own goodness and "almighty power", not for increasing his own beatitude, nor for attaining his perfection, but in order to manifest this perfection through the benefits which he bestows on creatures, with absolute freedom of counsel and from the beginning of time, made out of nothing both orders of creatures, the spiritual and the corporeal. . .” (293).
“The glory of God consists in the realization of this manifestation and communication of his goodness, for which the world was created” (294), that is to say, that we receive a share in the goodness and happiness of God himself. This is the only reason for God to create the world: not to get something for himself, but to make us shares of his happiness.
God creates out of nothing. “We believe that God needs no pre-existent thing or any help in order to create, nor is creation any sort of necessary emanation from the divine substance. God creates freely "out of nothing": "If God had drawn the world from pre-existent matter, what would be so extraordinary in that? A human artisan makes from a given material whatever he wants, while God shows his power by starting from nothing to make all he wants"” (298).
“Thus the mother of seven sons encourages them for martyrdom: "Look at the heaven and the earth and see everything that is in them, and recognize that God made them out of nothing" (cf. 2 Mac 7:22-23.28)” (297). “Since God could create everything out of nothing, he can also, through the Holy Spirit, give spiritual life to sinners by creating a pure heart in them (cf. Psalm 51:12), and bodily life to the dead through the Resurrection” (298).
God is almighty. Nothing is impossible with God: he can make us pure and good even after the horrible experience of our sins. God is creator: he can create a new heart in us, a heart that loves him and our neighbour with the love of God. Let us never distrust in his mercy. God wants to forgive us and he can do it: “You forgive everyone, O Lord, because you are almighty”.