Tolerance and Mercy… 19Jun2016

Divine Mercy image (3) (2)When once I asked the Lord how He could tolerate so many sins and crimes, He answered, “I have eternity for punishing… I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of sinners.”                   

                        Diary of St. Faustina, par. 1160


Last week we learned that Forgiveness and Mercy are not synonymous but are related since (true) Forgiveness is a fruit of Merciful Love. Tolerance is another word often associated with Mercy but, as we shall learn, may not be at all merciful. Wrongly employed it is quite the opposite.

Tolerance is a willingness to be patient toward people whose opinions or ways differ from one’s own or it can be the power of enduring or putting up with or it can also mean the allowable amount of variation from a standard. Patience, a calm endurance without complaining or losing self-control, can play a role in tolerance but they are not the same. Patience, like Kindness and Self-control, are fruits of the Holy Spirit. Also, Patience is a Virtue, tolerance is not.

In today’s Gospel, after Jesus tells the Apostles how the Son of Man will suffer greatly, be rejected, be killed and on the third day be raised, He challenges them, and each of us, to deny ourselves, take up our crosses daily and follow Him. He is firm and direct. He provides no allowable variation from the standard, which will be His own sacrificial death.

St. Paul, in today’s second reading, points out that our true identity, through Baptism, is with Jesus. Our external identity as male or female, slave or free, Greek or Jew merely covers our true nature, which is born of the Spirit, making us children of God, heirs to His Kingdom. It is from our true nature, not our external worldly coverings, that we become merciful. Tolerance is merely a covering under which we hide our true nature. It gives a worldly impression of mercy, but it is not. True mercy, born of Love, exhibits itself in the spiritual works of mercy, which include: counseling the doubtful, instructing the ignorant, and admonishing the sinner. These take Patience and cannot be ignored under the guise of tolerance.

Deacon Richard


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