“Why are you afraid?” (Mark 4:40)
We humans are fickle. We’re contradictions. Sometimes, the things we say or do make absolutely no sense whatsoever. Let me give you an example: We oftentimes think God is a strict, unfeeling judge who sits in heaven with a clipboard observing our lives, checking off the good things we do and shaking His head in disappointment when we do bad. We can think perhaps that He’s ready to punish us severely for even the slightest fault. Now, I know not everyone thinks (or thought) that way but a vast majority of people do. We’re taught that God is love, and He loves us more than we can imagine but we still fear Him as if He doesn’t.
Why do we do that? Yes, we can sometimes mistake God, being our Father, acting like our own father or maybe fathers in general which, lets be honest, in today’s society are portrayed as cowards or weaklings. Maybe it’s because we think instant (and severe) punishment for not being perfect, and, after all, doesn’t Jesus say “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt. 5:48). It could be any number of things but the bottom line is we have the wrong kind of fear (servile) of God. We can mistake our relationship with Him with a slave/master “relationship” instead of a relationship (or like I prefer, intimacy) based on sacrificial and unconditional love.
We must come to the point where we can fully understand, and live with, the knowledge that God is not simply judge, jury and executioner; but He’s someone who can’t get enough of us because He loves us so much. Time and time again He’s shown us His tenderness and compassion. That’s what Divine Mercy is all about.
Fr. John Hardon said this about what mercy means: “mercy is love shown to the unlovable.” Think about it this way when it comes to our sinning and fearing God: One reason why God allows us to sin is that we may love Him more than we would have had we not sinned. We are the ones who wrongfully think we’re unlovable because of what we’ve done. This is precisely our mistake. We misunderstand that Jesus is the incarnation of Divine Mercy and He IS love. We have absolutely nothing to be afraid of. Granted, if we don’t live in unrepented mortal sin and think it’s okay.
His very crucifixion, devotion to His Most Sacred Heart, and His revelation to St. Faustina on His Mercy are just three examples of God showing us to not be afraid. We must not think of Him as saying, “Do this or else .. !” and ready to whip us.
During this Feast and week of Divine Mercy make your prayer before Him in the Blessed Sacrament one of asking Him to give you a taste of His immense love, and to reassure you that you do not have to fear Him, but only love Him to the extent that you can love Him, like He loves you. He’s waiting! He’s given His all for us, and we must give ours for Him.