By Father Dennis Meinen
View from the Scooter
Since Pope Francis has declared this to be the Year of Mercy, I asked several people to share their personal witness of God’s Mercy. Pope Francis said God’s mercy can make even the driest land become a garden, can restore life to dry bones (cf. Ez 37:1-14).
“Let us be renewed by God’s mercy, let us be loved by Jesus, let us enable the power of his love to transform our lives too; and let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the earth, protect all creation and make justice and peace flourish.” — Easter Urbi et Orbi message, March 31, 2013.
My assistant suggested I not publish people’s names. So, I give you the first heart felt witness of God’s mercy. It was so touching I told her it was a beautiful witness/testimony. It was impossible to read unless one had a box of Kleenex.
I would love to share my story about this amazing Year of Mercy!
My husband converted to Catholicism a few months before we were married. However, he slowly just quit participating in Mass and the sacraments. Never any big explanation or anything. He just never seemed to have developed a prayer life or a relationship with God. And so began eight or so years of prayers and sacrifice for him to return, with a real conversion of heart. At first, I thought I needed to try to change or convince him, but you can imagine how that went.
Then, I started listening to the Divine Chaplet on Catholic radio and the final prayer really spoke to me. It talks of “God’s will, which is love and mercy itself.” Well, duh! Why don’t I try simply loving and being a conduit of God’s mercy to my husband?! It seemed simple, but life changing. Still, years went by.
We had a son receive First Reconciliation and I hoped my husband would also go. He did not. I loaded the kids up for Mass each week. He slept. And on it went. I realized I needed to be ready for perhaps decades of this. God’s timing is not my own.
Then, the Year of Mercy comes. I heard my husband praying with our young son one day. Our middle son received his First Reconciliation last month and my husband went. He then started attending Mass and receiving the Eucharist again!
I heard him saying the words of the Divine Chaplet about a week ago. He walked through the Holy Door at the Cathedral in Sioux City. Last night I told our youngest son that “tomorrow is a church day.”
“I hope Dad goes,” he said.
“I think he will,” I said.
My son responded, “Mom, I think because we prayed so much, God made Dad come back!”
He is five years old. I feared he would reach adulthood before sharing his faith with his dad. I am still in amazement each day that we received this miracle so soon.
Eight years didn’t feel “quick” when living it, but watching God at work is worth all the time in the world!
Have a great Year of Mercy, Father! We sure are!
I hope many will share their God moment with me, so that I can bring it to you. As St. John Paul said, “In the name of Jesus Christ crucified and risen, in the spirit of His messianic mission, enduring in the history of humanity, we raise our voices and pray that the love which is in the Father may once again be revealed at this stage of history, and that, through the work of the Son and Holy Spirit, it may be shown to be present in our modern world and to be more powerful than evil: more powerful than sin and death. We pray for this through the intercession of her who does not cease to proclaim ‘mercy…from generation to generation,’ and also through the intercession of those for whom there have been completely fulfilled the words of the Sermon on the Mount: ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.’”
Father Dennis Meinen serves as chaplain at Holy Spirit Retirement Home, Sioux City, for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in the diocese and Calix and Faithful Friar of the Garrigan 4th Degree Assembly of the Knights of Columbus, Sioux City.