Read Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Kathleen Murphy’s comments on February hymn: There’s A Wideness in God’s Mercy.
If we follow the yearly calendar as interpreted by the retail world, February is the month for Valentines. This celebration turns our minds to the theme of love. It is also the month for Lent’s focus on prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Perhaps we can look at the well known hymn, There’s A Wideness In God’s Mercy. It doesn’t pop to mind as a “love song” nor a “social justice song” but it well may be both.
Human love does not exist long without the quality of mercy coming into play. Unintentionally we hurt or slight the ones we strive to love and they unwittingly do the same to us. Mercy breathes new life into that love which is God’s presence among us. We must work at mercy whether it is for those close to us whom we love as friends and kin or those we love more distantly as fellow Children of God.
The song also proclaims the kindness of God’s justice. Justice is not just a sense of fairness or equality. It must be sweetened with kindness if it is to follow the pattern of divine justice. Is this the pattern of justice that we practice and support in the world around us?
The lyrics go on to beautifully challenge us to love as God does. If our love were but more simple we should take him at his word, and our lives would be thanksgiving for the goodness of our Lord. As this short month unfolds, and as we ponder happenings in our immediate world as well as the greater human community, may this be our song and our prayer.
At the end of this month, we continue to ponder God’s mercy. Where do you see God’s mercy active in your own life?