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108 Divine Mercy in the Marketplace

April 20, 2020

Pope Francis said, “We are called to show mercy because mercy has first been shown to us.” But, how do we do this at work? In this episode of By Your Life, we talk about the obstacles and solutions to extending mercy in the marketplace.

Sunday of Divine Mercy – April 19, 2020

Happy Easter and welcome to the one hundred and eighth episode of By Your Life. I’m Lisa Huetteman and I know that you have many options for what you could be doing right now, so I thank you for choosing By Your Life.

My goal is to inspire, empower, support, challenge, and encourage you to connect Sunday, with Monday-Friday, in a secular business world. It’s my desire to help you live our Catholic faith in the marketplace. I hope to offer you practical ways to go forth and glorify the Lord by your life.

In this edition, we’ll reflect on the readings for the Second Sunday of Easter or Sunday of Divine Mercy. In the 1930s, Jesus chose St. Maria Faustina Kowalska to receive private revelations of his Divine Mercy that she recorded in her diary. Fourteen times she recorded that Jesus requested that the Feast of Mercy be observed on the Second Sunday of Easter. It wasn’t until 2000 that the Vatican decreed that this Sunday would be known as the Sunday of Divine Mercy.

In her diary, St. Faustina recorded that Jesus told her, “My daughter, tell the whole world about my inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and a shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day, the very depths of my tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon the souls who approach the Fount of my Mercy.” (Diary 699)

In approaching the Fount of his Mercy, we are offered what St. Pope John Paul II referred to as “a personal encounter with the merciful Savior Himself.” So, it is no coincidence that this Sunday, as with every Second Sunday of Easter, we are presented the 20th chapter of John’s Gospel, verses 19-31, that is filled with the revelation of the merciful Savior. Although we could discuss the meaning of the revelation for hours, I’d like to offer three messages that you and I can contemplate and put into action this week.

Fear creates an absence of peace

The first is fear and the absence of peace. The disciples were in a locked room for fear of the Jews, and rightfully so. After all, Jesus had just been crucified and all their hopes were crushed. So, it is quite understandable that they were afraid. But maybe there was more to their fear. When Mary Magdalene encountered the risen Jesus, he asked her to “Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” (Mt 29:10) Maybe they were afraid of facing this Risen Lord after denying him and fleeing in his hour of need. As much as they longed for the Lord, they may have equally feared seeing him.

So, there they were. Locked up in the room and afraid. Yet, “Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.” (Jn 20:19) When they recognized him, they rejoiced and Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.” (Jn 20:21) Then, a week later when he joined them in the room, although the doors were locked again, he said, “Peace be with you.” (Jn 20:26) They were afraid. They were locked up in their fear and three times Jesus offered peace to his disciples. Fear steals our peace. Jesus replaces it.

So, what are you afraid of? What is your greatest fear in life? This is a serious question to ponder because our fears can lead us to destructive behavior. One friend once told me her greatest fear is disappointing someone, and another said he feared not living up to other people’s expectations. Both these people are obsessively busy, and being obsessively busy robs them of their peace, and they know it.

We all have fears that drive our behaviors. At work, the know-it-all is afraid of his/her weaknesses, the people-person is afraid of not being liked, the perfectionist is afraid of being wrong, and the accommodator is afraid of conflict. Their fears present themselves as aggressiveness, defensiveness, or passivity. They are argumentative, unrealistic, take criticism personally, or overcomplicate situations and hesitate to act. Understanding your fears and those of others will go a long way to improving not only your success, but theirs. So, what is your fear and how is it impacting your success and robbing you of your peace?

Mercy brings peace

The second of the three messages I’d like to discuss is the connection between mercy and peace. Thomas Merton wrote, “We are not at peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves, and we are not at peace with ourselves because we are not at peace with God.”

If you’re not at peace with God, it is only because you’ve not accepted his Divine Mercy. Like “Doubting Thomas” in the Gospel, hearing about someone else’s experience wasn’t enough. And so, Jesus appeared again the next week and Thomas was there and had a personal experience with the Risen Lord. Immediately he believed, exclaiming, “My Lord and my God!” (Jn 20:28)

Just as Thomas needed to see, and touch the Lord, we too must experience him ourselves. Again, St. Pope John Paul II said Divine Mercy “is a personal encounter with the merciful Savior himself.” So, why not? Why not accept Jesus’ invitation to approach the Fount of Mercy?

Through St. Faustina, Jesus gave us the Divine Mercy Image, the Feast, the Chaplet, and even the doctrinal message, which are means to enable us to personally experience the love of Jesus Christ. I had a transformational experience after meditating on the Image of Divine Mercy at a retreat many years ago. I kept looking at it and repeating the words, “Jesus, I trust in You”, realizing that I really didn’t trust in him. That realization was the beginning of a personal encounter with God’s merciful love that has continued to grow to this day.

But I know that just like the other disciples’ experience wasn’t what Thomas needed, my personal experience means nothing to you. You need your own personal experience of the love of Jesus Christ. He’s offered us the gift of his mercy. By accepting his mercy, we will find peace with God.

Share what we have received

Which brings me to the third message from this week’s Gospel, and that is our responsibility to share what we have received.

Jesus said to the disciples, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (Jn 20:21) St. John Paul II points out that receiving is a prerequisite for giving. He said, “Only if we have experienced His love for ourselves, are we adequately prepared to share His love effectively with others.” But when we have, it is our responsibility. As Pope Francis said, “We are called to show mercy because mercy has first been shown to us.”

And how can we do this at work? How can we be bearers of Divine Mercy to others in our workplaces? In my book, The Value of Core Values, I wrote about The Fechtel Company, a designer and builder of high-end, high-quality custom homes. Jay Fechtel, the company’s CEO, shared a story about a team member named David. David was the type of guy who would take a sincere interest in the subcontractors on their job sites. He would regularly ask them how they were doing and how he could pray for them.

One day David went over to talk to the guy who was there to clean the port-o-potty. Normally, he wouldn’t have any interaction this guy with because he would come at random times, do his work, and leave. You know how seedy a port-o-potty can get. It’s a lot of work to keep them clean.

Well, this man was extremely moved by David’s offer to pray. It turned out that his son had Down syndrome and he and his wife had been struggling with this issue for years. When David share this with his team, several other employees started checking in with this man and praying with him too whenever he was on site.

Jay said that his team knew that this man truly appreciated the mercy they extended him because they had the cleanest port-o-potty in the state. I’m talking about clean! He would scrub those things down and put little tablets in them that made them smell so great, you could smell the fragrance twenty feet away!

Now that’s Divine Mercy at work!

Some of us are afraid to ask a stranger if they would like us to pray for them and a lot of workplaces would be hostile to this approach. But you don’t have to outwardly offer prayer to show mercy. You can listen to understand the other person’s fears and offer them mercy. You can love them despite their weaknesses by seeing their potential, or even better, you can help them, teach them, and encourage them. “Mercy towards a human life in a state of need is the true face of love” Pope Francis said, explaining that it is by loving the other that one becomes a true disciple of Jesus and the face of the Father is revealed.

God’s mercy is our liberation

Recognizing our own fears, accepting God’s mercy to overcome them, and then extending that mercy to others are three steps to practicing Divine Mercy in the marketplace. Pope Francis reminds us that “God’s mercy is our liberation and our happiness”, emphasizing, “it is the air that we must breathe”.

Let’s pray and ask for the help of our merciful Father.

Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself. Amen.

May God bless you with his abundant mercy this week and may you glorify the Lord by your life.

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