Oblate Program at Belmont Abbey, NC

Justice, Prayer and Mercy

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Dohle-rosary-webA devotion that I personally feel an attraction towards is the mercy chaplet. I tend to use it often throughout the day to keep my mind focused, in an attitude of prayer. It keeps me aware, alert, and of course in the Eternals presence. It is said on rosary beads, for it is a round of ten short prayers, intertwined with one longer prayer between decades. I have simplified it, and only say the decade part, and ignore the beginning prayers. The reason I like this prayer is that it is said for God’s mercy to fall on everyone. So when praying the chaplet, one is united to Christ in his prayer for the salvation of mankind. It is also healing, for slowly, if this devotion is said with attention, it can lead to the healing of the heart, if there are those in our lives, either from the past or the present, which we find hard to forgive. Some of these areas of un-forgiveness are unconscious, so this prayer can slowly lead to healing, for to say the chaplet, there has to be the desire to forgive everyone, just as God has that desire. When we are in a state of un-forgiveness we in reality give power to those who have hurt us in the past, we just drag them along throughout our lives giving them a power that they are not even aware of. For past hurts can poison the present, so to forgive is to let go, to be free. To pray for mercy for all, will slowly allow this freedom to grow in ones heart, which will lead to a deepening of trust in others.

The human heart, my heart, often veers towards wanting justice done. Which more often than not, is just another word for revenge, served hot or cold it does not matter. Being naturally self centered, for that is the way we are made, a wrong done against me can be magnified, while the wrongs I do to another tend to be minimized. For I understand my situation, my rights, and why the wrong done to me should be punished. I can also see why I have done something to another, and find reason not to take it too seriously, for after all, I had good just reasons for whatever I did. It is very hard to be objective, easy to be overbearing and unjust towards others. I would say it is a natural state of things.

For when praying the chaplet, I am also among those in need of God’s mercy, not separate from, but in union with those that I pray for. I am not apart praying for “others”, but one with my brothers and sisters, as we all make our pilgrimage toward union with God. After a time one will begin to see that judgments can be made about actions, but the interior state, or worth of the person, is left up to the mercy of God, which is preferable to any kind of mercy I can squeeze out by myself. Which would be very little, believe me, you can trust me on that. I am constantly dealing with the harsher side of my personality, not only towards others, but also towards myself. We are called to greater interior freedom, mercy allows that freedom to grow, until mercy and compassion and yes even empathy is a natural state of things. Just think the soul will be able to breathe.

Br. Mark Dohle, OCSO
Holy Spirit Monstery

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