There should not be any brother or sister in the world who has sinned, however much they have sinned, who, after looking in your eyes would go away without having received your mercy, if they are looking for mercy. And if they were not to seek mercy, you should ask if they want mercy. And if they should sin thereafter a thousand times before your very eyes, love them more than me so that you may draw them back to the Lord. Always be merciful to such as these.
~ Francis of Assisi from “A Letter to a Minister” (adapted)
Breath Prayer: “giving and receiving” “mercy”
Time in the wilderness allows for reflection on the moments that have shaped our past year and even our whole lives. Stories come to us of times when we have been extended kindnesses and times when we have been kind. Memories of thoughtful, meaningful conversations and times when we wish we could take back harsh and damaging words. Moments of giving and of receiving mercy.
St. Francis instructs us this day in the gift of mercy. He speaks to intentional act of paying attention to the hearts and spirits of our sisters and brothers. Literally before our eyes are children of God in need of mercy extended to them. And once we have done this, our relationship with them shifts. We are connected to them through a loving energy that draws all closer to God’s grace. This mercy offered to another is our living prayer.
Prayer: God of mercy and of grace, open my eyes and my heart so that I might be your hands and feet this day. May I serve you and bring a weary pilgrim closer to your loving spirit. Lead me on and guide me, I pray. Amen
Working in Family Experience at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.