I Desire Mercy

“I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.” (Matthew 9:13)

Sometimes in our religious zeal, we tend to confuse sacrifice for righteousness. Any sacrifice in God’s name must be one that leads to him not away from him. Sacrifices for our families, our spiritually, our jobs, our politics, our laws must be modeled after Jesus Christ’s mercy not be self-centered.

We must always remember, however, the value of proper sacrifices. We need to sacrifice some of our busy time and financial resources, however limited, to pray, to build up relationships with our loved ones, and to serve our church and communities. Moreover, we need to sacrifice our status quo and comfort zone to defend and protect justice, life, and Christian values. We need to sacrifice any fear, guilt or sin that prevents us from living in Christ. Our imperfect humanity gives us strength because we know what it is like to be lost and to be found; to have fallen and been redeemed. It would be unmerciful to others not to act.

 

© hectorortiz 2013. All rights reserved.

A Husband’s Wedding Prayer

Last week, I read a prayer (Tobit 8:5-8), which I can’t get it out of my mind. Maybe it is because of the pending U.S. Supreme Court decisions on marriage or maybe it is because I think it is a beautiful wedding prayer, which illustrates the covenant of a Christian marriage: “by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life…ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1601)

The prayer was recited by Tobiah after marrying Sarah. Sarah had been married 7 times prior, but all her husbands were killed by the wicked demon Asmodeus who possessed Sarah.  Fortunately, Tobiah, assisted by the Angel Raphael, expelled the demon (Tobit 3:8; 8:1-3).

 “Blessed are you, O God of our fathers,

Praised be your name forever and ever.

Let the heavens and all creation praise you forever.

You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve to be his help and support; and from these two the human race descended.

You said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; let us make him a partner like himself.’

Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine not because of lust, but for a noble purpose. Call down your mercy on me and on her, and allow us to live together to a happy old age.

Bless us with children.

Amen, amen!

I am an imperfect husband (and Christian) living in an imperfect marriage, but like Tobiah, I pray to God to send down his mercy upon me and my wife – and all marriages – to forgive us for our shortcomings while blessing us with perseverance to build a strong marriage.

© hectorortiz 2013. All rights reserved.

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Painted in the year 2000 by the Monastic Fraternity at St. Peter Church, Tilden, Wisconsin, USA
Painted in the year 2000 by the Monastic Fraternity at St. Peter Church, Tilden, Wisconsin, USA

‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ (Luke 15:6)

Today we celebrate the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. There is not much I can say to express the meaning of today’s solemnity other than Jesus’ love is infinite and merciful. His love is such that he sacrificed his life so we could be saved from evil, redeemed from sin, and be resurrected.

Jesus’ heart is our model to selfless compassion. Jesus is the shepherd I can trust. I know that when lost, Jesus will leave all his sheep in the desert to look for me and he will rejoice when he rescues me. That should be a consolation of mercy for all of us.

May the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus radiate his light on us this day.

Father, we honor the heart of your son, broken by our cruelty, yet symbol of love’s triumph, pledge of all that we are called to be. Teach us the see Christ in the lives we touch and to offer him living worship by love-filled service to our brothers and sisters. We ask through Christ our Lord.

Alternative Opening Prayer, Solemnity of the Sacred Heart (Sacramentary, 1973)

© hectorortiz 2013. All rights reserved.