My Song is of Mercy and Justice This opening verse of Psalm 100 formed the title of a book on the spirituality of Catherine McAuley’s published in 1984. Its author Angela Bolster RSM stated then that her choice of this title was dictated by Catherine McAuley’s known love for the Scriptures and her own conviction that Psalm 100 was Catherine’s theme song.
The biblical understanding of Justice is of being in right relationship with God and with all exists, all that lives, moves and has being in God - and fundamentally that relationship is one of love and compassion, a reflection of how God relates to all. The invitation God offers to each of us is to live in love and compassion building up the community of life - mercy and justice are inseparable in Scripture and in our lives as Mercy Sisters.
Catherine McAuley’s context in the early 19th Century in Ireland and in England was a very challenging one culturally and institutionally - a political, professional, social and ecclesiastical world of oppression, discrimination, exclusion, male domination and inequality. The Mission of Mercy into which Catherine McAuley was drawn by God was essentially one of Justice that involved service of those suffering injustice and the challenging of underlying unjust structures that were at variance with the Gospel and the well-being of the disadvantaged of her day. Her insistence on good quality education for girls and the practical social programmes she initiated were good examples of contemporary ministries that expressed this mission of mercy/justice.The Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy that Catherine founded was in Angela Bolster’s words
Today we continue to contribute to the unfolding creative and liberating work of God through our commitment in mission to respond compassionately to all forms of suffering and to collaborate in the transformation of unjust structures. In doing so, we encounter many challenges daily in a world of massive inequality, displacement and oppression of peoples, plundering of the earth’s resources and destruction of biodiversity While recognising these challenges we responded in our 2008 Chapter by committing ourselves to:
‘Reverence the earth and its peoples by engaging creatively with the needs of our time both locally and globally’.
Animated by our Mercy call we continue to seek ways of living this commitment ever more fully, constantly challenged by questions such as:
Is my fundamental attitude in life one of reverence?
How consistent am I in making choices that enhance the quality of all life?
Am I willing to change my way of seeing, of thinking, of acting, of being if the future of the whole community of life depends on it?
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