"The Mercy" is Cynthia Bourgeault's name for the Divine Presence among us. As a Sister of Mercy for most of my life, I always sense an energetic connection with that word, but Cynthia has caused me to be even more sensitive to its meaning. This all
came back to me last week when someone called to tell me about a very painful suicide of a member of her family. After telling the story of her own deep shock and pain, she came to her most delicate question: did I think that God would treat this family
member like the Churches do, or used to; i.e., condemn the act of suicide and even not allow burial in the Church grounds?
At least I could reassure that Christian Churches no longer have this barbaric and unforgiving practice
of burial outside the Church grounds, but I also found myself suddenly raging inside that someone in these circumstances would even have to ask that question. I was filled with a soft tender energy that was clearly meant for her. The words that came were these:
"There is no way on earth or in the heavens that a God of Compassion, a God of Love and Tenderness would keep anyone out of heaven who committed suicide. Anyone who is driven to this act has already lived through lifetimes of suffering and God would never
ask more. Be assured that he is already in heaven, his suffering at an end."
I have no explanation as to how suddenly and clearly the words came and I received the confidence to speak them so clearly. That was grace, for us both. But I
do know that she heard them, and believed them; she took them in and allowed them to console her fear that the opposite would happen for her beloved family member. The Mercy is God, and all expressions of that Tenderness, from the smallest, unnoticeable acts
of love and forgiveness to the large scale justice-oriented projects ---they are all and equally bringing the presence of Mercy into the world. Each of us, every person alive, is invited to be a channel and expression of The Mercy.
Of course, animals already know how to be so.