When we say this prayer, we actually mean, Lord, comfort me. Take away my pain. Show me your love. We are not talking about justice or acquittal but it’s a prayer to God for compassion for us, his suffering children. This is what we mean when we say “Lord have mercy” during the liturgy.
We do not stand before God and ask Him to give to give us what we deserve but that He is merciful to us despite our sin. When we pray “Lord have mercy” we are not even demanding our rights. God owes us nothing. He truly gives us the gift of His mercy.
This is a very comforting thought because when we stand before God after our death, we know that we do not deserve entry into heaven. We will enter because God will be merciful to us.
We know that God is merciful. We can ask. “How can I receive this mercy?” The next question would be, if
God is merciful to me, then “what am I supposed to do before my brothers and sisters in Christ?”
The best source of God’s mercy is through prayer. When we pray we not only can expect mercy for ourselves but also for those for whom we pray. As we say, “Lord, hear our prayer.” This is what we expect and will receive.
The saints also remind us that we will receive mercy after we pray and repent. “Let us hasten to call forth God’s mercy by repentance”. Also if we look at the 5th Beatitude we read “Blessed are the merciful, for they will obtain mercy.” We cannot expect mercy for ourselves if we do not extend this same mercy to others.
Very often extending mercy to others involves forgiving them for their sins against us. This is not easy to do.
Sometimes we forget that our prayer for mercy is to God to Forgive us our own sins. After all we have asked God to “forgive us as we forgive those who trespass against us”.
It is interesting and important to note that the Pope has asked us during this Year of Mercy to look at all our own feuds which exist in our own families. These sins are the ones which hurt us the most.
We can start our Year of Mercy journey right here. Remember the three steps. We need to start with pray, ask for forgiveness, and show mercy to others.