• Sarah Raad


Please God, bend me, break me, make me anew… Align my words and my thoughts that I may never hope to try to trick YOU!

Saint Alphonsus De Liguori

The other day I read a couple of sentences attributed to Cardinal Robert Sarah, who was the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments from 2010 until February 2021 and I shared these words with some people, because I found them very interesting and true.

The reaction to these words was very mixed…

Some people saw in these words what I saw – they saw such power of God – and they were afraid.

Others felt that these words defied the message of Christ in His revelations to Saint Faustina about the Unfathomable Divine Mercy of God – and they were also afraid… for the Cardinal and his message.

And while it is true that the Cardinal’s words were not of the same tone as the revelations of Christ, but I believe that their message is inspired by the Holy Spirit.

How many times have I lived my life and said TOMORROW I will be sorry? How many times have I prayed the original prayers of Saint Augustine prior to his conversion, which he wrote about in his writing, “Confessions”, saying… “Lord, give me chastity and continence (and any other virtue), BUT NOT YET.” (emphasis added)?

How many times have I tried to TRICK God?

God I will be good… when I am dying. I will be good… when my children are older. I will be good… when I finish working. I will be good… when I retire. I will pray more… when I have more time. God I will speak of You more… when I am around other people… God I will proclaim Your Holy Name… when You give me what I want…

Sadly, in my case, the list goes on ad infinitum.

Saint Josemaría called this sort of mindset… “mystical wishful thinking”. It is wrong. He advised that we should instead turn to what was material, real and at hand, and simply get to work with what we have, without excuse…

In her diary entry 1507, Saint Faustina wrote, “Let no one doubt concerning the goodness of God; even if a person's sins were as dark as night, God's mercy is stronger than our misery. One thing alone is necessary: that the sinner set ajar the door of his heart, be it ever so little, to let in a ray of God's merciful grace, and then God will do the rest.”

“Let no one doubt”… For the mercy of God is infinite…

In her earlier diary entry, 1073, Saint Faustina had written, “Oh, if only souls would want to understand how much God loves them!”

“God loves them”… For the mercy of God is infinite…

These revelations of Christ on His Divine mercy lead me to the words of Cardinal Robert Sarah that caused so much contention and consternation…

The Cardinal wrote, “Don’t deceive people with the word ‘mercy’. God forgives sins only if we repent of them.”

At first I cane see how the words of the Cardinal sound contradictory to the diary entries. We hear the words “love” and “mercy” and merciful grace” in the diary, and from the Cardinal, we hear the word “deceive”…

And yet… The Cardinal is not the first person to warn us about our deceptions in our dealings with God. In fact, Saint Luke in the Acts of the Apostles, referred to sinners as LIARS “But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land?” (Acts 5:3). Similarly, the Evil One is described as the great deceiver, because he comes not dressed in a black cape and horns, but dressed in all our earthly desires, deceiving us to believe in his empty power and false promises… “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14).

Saint Augustine himself said, that if we seek God’s mercy without true repentance, if we ask for mercy with the intention of LATER repenting, then we are not bowing to the mercy of God, but we are MOCKING his majesty!

Saint Alphonsus De Liguori, who was a Doctor of the Church, said, “Be not deceived. God is not mocked. It would be a mockery to God to insult him as often and as much as you please, and afterward to expect Heaven… Then, must the Lord, because He has had compassion on you, show mercy forever, and never chastise you? No: the greater have been His mercies to you, the more you have reason to fear that, if you offend Him again, He will pardon you no more, but will take vengeance on your sins.”

This is not because God has not enough mercy to give to us – for His mercy is INFINITE – it is because we have not enough fear to beg it of Him with a contrite heart!

Dear God. How many times I have tried to trick you? How many times I have wronged you, asking for mercy while holding my sin in my hands?

In the words of William Shakespeare’s villain King Claudius, who speaks in Shakespeare’s Elizabethan Tragedy, “Hamlet”…

“My words fly up, my thoughts remain below: Words without thoughts never to Heaven go.”

My Lord and my God, King of the Universe… Holy Divine and Infinite Unfathomable Mercy… bend me, break me and make me anew… Align my words and my thoughts that I may never hope to try to trick YOU!

For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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