A reflection on question 8 from the pastoral letter by Deacon Mark Barder, diocesan director of Planning and the Office of the Diaconate.
Q. How do you reconcile justice with mercy?
When my wife and I became parents, we had many conversations about raising our children. One of the issues which came up was the topic of discipline and what do we do as parents, who love their children unconditionally, but also knew that there would be times that we would need to help them through times in which they made a mistake and discipline was needed.
One of the principles we grounded our parenting in was the premise that all that we did with and for our children would be rooted in unconditional love. Our actions and decisions regarding any discipline would be rooted in and lived out with unconditional love.
I don’t think there is a parent today who, when trying to raise their children, does so to destroy or ruin their lives. It was our hope that as our children did make a mistakes, they would learn a lesson not to make the same mistake again. It was that desire, by being grounded in our premise of unconditional love, no matter what happened, our mercy and love would be grounded in their faith life and growth as individuals.
Our Church has given us this wonderful season of opportunity to reflect on our lives and those times which we have failed. It gives us a beautiful gift to receive the mercy of our God through reconciliation and forgiveness. This is rooted in the premise of God’s unconditional love for each of us. Reconciling our failings, may we embrace God’s mercy intended for each of us through His unconditional love.