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Can We Try and Excuse what we Cannot Understand in Another's Behaviour?

August 03, 2016

The Year of Mercy is now eight months old!  Has it made a difference in my life? ... In the lives of those whose lives intersect with mine on a daily basis?

Saint Mary MacKillop and Pope Francis urge every one of us to be people of mercy, reaching out in love and compassion to those in our lives who are in most need of our understanding.

During this eighth month of the Year of Mercy, you are invited to ponder their words, and their connection with the image below, using the Visio Divina method of praying.

Latin for 'divine seeing', Visio Divina is a prayerful consideration of and interaction with a photograph, icon, piece of art, or other visual representation. It allows the viewer to experience God in a unique and powerful way.

Try at least to excuse what you cannot understand
and bear in mind that you have only to answer for your own faults.

Mary MacKillop. May 21, 1877 (Aged 25)


“Even if the life of a person has been a disaster,
even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs or anything else -
God is in this person's life.
You can - you must - try to seek God in every human life.”

A Big Heart Open to God: A Conversation with Pope Francis



Spend a few minutes gazing at the above image of the penguin that strayed …

How does it connect with these words of Mary and Francis?

Ponder: In this Year of Mercy:

  • Who are the people I find it hardest to understand—and love?
  • How aware am I that I, too, have faults?
  • Does my everyday life reflect that God is with me?
  • What would help me remember that God is also ‘in every human life’?

Image and Reflection: Mary Ryan rsj—CentreWest Region