Christ during His Passion prayed a prayer of mercy for His persecutors in asking His Father to forgive them for they know not what they do. That prayer was also intended for us who have persecuted Him in our sins. His prayer for us is also one of pure mercy. If we are to accept that mercy, we must first come to Him as the good thief did as he was being crucified beside Christ, full of humble repentance. It is then that we can receive the Body and Blood of Christ and make His mystery known to others through the ways we live our lives in Christ.
Today is the feast of Pope St Gregory the Great, another of the Doctors of the Church and one of only a few to be given the title "the great". It is also the first Friday of the month. Many people, myself among them, observe the devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Through St Margaret Mary Alacoque, Our Lord made many promises to those who would observe and spread this devotion. It is another way in which we can spread and make known Christ's Mystery; those Divine Mysteries that are re~presented at every Mass.
The following is a reflection from Pope St Gregory the Great on making known the Mystery of Christ's Mercy.
Today let us ask this great saint for his intercession for our own Holy Father, Benedict XVI and all our bishops and priests that they will lead us faithfully in our own efforts of living and spreading Christ's Mystery of Mercy.
Holy Job is a type of the Church. At one time he speaks for the body, at another for the head. As he speaks of its members he is suddenly caught up to speak in the name of their head. So it is here, where he says: I have suffered this without sin on my hands, for my prayer to God was pure.
Christ suffered without sin on his hands, for he committed no sin and deceit was not found on his lips. Yet he suffered the pain of the cross for our redemption. His prayer to God was pure, his alone out of all mankind, for in the midst of his suffering he prayed for his persecutors:Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.
Is it possible to offer, or even to imagine, a purer kind of prayer than that which shows mercy to one’s torturers by making intercession for them? It was thanks to this kind of prayer that the frenzied persecutors who shed the blood of our Redeemer drank it afterward in faith and proclaimed him to be the Son of God.
The text goes on fittingly to speak of Christ’s blood: Earth, do not cover over my blood, do not let my cry find a hiding place in you. When man sinned, God had said: Earth you are, and to earth you will return. Earth does not cover over the blood of our Redeemer, for every sinner, as he drinks the blood that is the price of his redemption, offers praise and thanksgiving, and to the best of his power makes that blood known to all around him.
Earth has not hidden away his blood, for holy Church has preached in every corner of the world the mystery of its redemption.
Notice what follows: Do not let my cry find a hiding place in you. The blood that is drunk, the blood of redemption, is itself the cry of our Redeemer. Paul speaks of the sprinkled blood that calls out more eloquently than Abel’s. Of Abel’s blood Scripture had written: The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to me from the earth. The blood of Jesus calls out more eloquently than Abel’s, for the blood of Abel asked for the death of Cain, the fratricide, while the blood of the Lord has asked for, and obtained, life for his persecutors.
If the sacrament of the Lord’s passion is to work its effect in us, we must imitate what we receive and proclaim to mankind what we revere. The cry of the Lord finds a hiding place in us if our lips fail to speak of this, though our hearts believe in it. So that his cry may not lie concealed in us it remains for us all, each in his own measure, to make known to those around us the mystery of our new life in Christ.
*Brief biography of Pope St Gregory the Great