BRINGING MERCY HOME
23 DEC | Day 25
CHECK OUT THIS BONUS VIDEO FROM FATHER MIKE SCHMITZ!
Father Mike Schmitz is the chaplain for Newman Catholic Campus Ministries at the University of Minnesota Duluth. He also serves as the director of the Office of Youth Ministry for the Diocese of Duluth. Known nationally for his inspiring homilies, consistent hilarity, and genuine coolness, Father Schmitz is quickly becoming a Catholic household name in America.
By the Dynamic Catholic Team
Our entire Dynamic Catholic team has been praying for you this Advent. We have been praying that God’s mercy touches your heart in a way that transforms you and helps you welcome Jesus into your life in a powerful way this Christmas.
We also have been praying that this encounter with mercy provides you with the courage and wisdom to become an agent of God’s mercy.
As you prepare to spend time with family and friends this Christmas, we encourage you to consider giving God’s mercy as one of the Christmas gifts you give this year. God wants to use you to ease the suffering of those you encounter.
We have heard some great tips throughout Advent to help you do this. Together we have been inspired to seek out the person most in need, and to pray for the living and dead. We have learned the practical steps to forgiveness and the one-level-down approach. We have been encouraged to be truly present, and to treat people with the dignity that God bestows on us.
Our seven incredible presenters offered so much wisdom in their videos. As a team, we feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to work with these faith-filled Catholic authors and speakers. Personally, I knew this program impacted me, but it wasn’t until this past weekend that I understood how much it changed my life.
People Crave Love
On Saturday morning, I was waiting in the lobby of the leasing office in my apartment complex when a woman joined me in the waiting area. We struck up a conversation and, quite incredibly, she revealed rather quickly that she is a non-practicing Catholic.
Her reasons for falling away were endless: Her parents were divorced, she experienced poor stewardship in the Catholic school she attended, she suffered through a divorce, she abused drugs and alcohol, and she had tons of questions about the legitimacy of the Bible, the authority of the Church, and the truth behind a number of Church teachings.
On other occasions when I have encountered individuals like this, I have taken the approach of simply trying to answer one of their questions. I have always thought, “if I could just convince them of one teaching, it might spark them on their own journey to discover the truth.” To be frank, this approach has not really borne much fruit.
Thanks to the Holy Spirit, I tried a different approach with this woman. I thought back to Day 3 of this program when Dan Burke told us that love builds a bridge over which truth can pass. People crave love.
With that in mind, I told this woman that there are answers to all of her questions, but the important reality is, “God loves you and so does his Church. So, on behalf of a Church that loves you, please come back. We want you back.”
Immediately, I saw the tension ease out of her shoulders. It was like it had been years since someone told her they loved her and wanted her to be a part of their life. She smiled and asked me to exchange numbers in case she wanted to take me up on my offer.
Now, I am not sure what will happen with her, but the exchange struck me as the epitome of what this season of Advent has been about. Begin with love and mercy. When God became incarnate in the form of Jesus, we received the incredible message that we are loved beyond calculation. God began with love and mercy and so should we.
Bring Mercy Home with You
For most people, there will be a challenging encounter as they go home this Christmas. Pray that through the work of the Holy Spirit, you will be the image of God’s love and mercy to your family.
Finally, thanks for being on the journey with us. If we can serve you in any way, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. God bless you and your loved ones!
We hope to see you along the way.
Let mercy overflow. As God’s mercy touches your heart, let it transform you. Let it give you the courage and wisdom to become an agent of God’s mercy.
Bring God’s mercy and love to your Christmas gatherings, especially when it’s difficult.
Come, long-expected Jesus. Excite in me a hunger for peace: peace in the world, peace in my home, peace in myself. (From Advent Prayer)