Mercy Enabling Justice


If we look for references to justice in the Bible we will always find it linked with mercy, love or compassion. Micah 6:8 is a succinct example of this.

“This is what Yahweh asks of you; only this, to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with your God.“ Micah 6:8

When Catherine McAuley became aware of the abusive situation of young servant girls in the houses of the rich in the early 19th century she was deeply moved and challenged to do something about it.

Through the providence of God and the generosity of her employer and patron Mr Callaghan, Catherine built a House of Mercy which was destined become became the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy, which would encircle the world. Thus mercy and compassion was a springboard into action. Enabling justice is fundamental to our ministry as Sisters of Mercy.

We are proud to be Sisters of Mercy in this second decade of the 21st century but  it carries an onerous burden. We are vowed to live in total response to Micah 6:8 quoted above. Essentially the issues which faced Catherine and the early Sisters of Mercy are the same issues we face today: exploitation of the poor and vulnerable, massive inequality between the poor and rich, violence, unjust structures, deep corruption in the world of banking and business.

However, the world today, is amazingly more complex than in Catherine’s time. Science and technology have revolutionised our planet. The internet, television, social media, instantaneous communications, ease of travel has made our world so much smaller. The affairs of the world are played out before us as they are happening; we are confronted with evils such as human slavery and widespread paedophilia; we listen to and watch violent events, wars and indescribable human suffering in far off countries, in the comfort of our homes. In recent months we have witnessed and maybe experienced the catastrophic and tragic effects of human made climate change.

On another level, through Soaps, offered for our evening entertainment and through many other media means we are being etherised, brainwashed or brain-softened into accepting violence and sexual immorality in its many forms as a norm. Through much of our media, secularism and an anti religious attitude is assumed to be the enlightened norm for the 21st century.

It is very easy to be overwhelmed and demoralised by so much evil, greed, corruption and immorality, yet it is good and essential to recall that there is much love, goodness and generosity in our world which never makes the headlines. We know and believe that Jesus took on himself, through his passion death and resurrection, all the evil being played out before us second by second, since the advent of humankind on planet earth. We know and believe he call calls us, his followers, to be his co-workers in that redemptive act.

So how do we in this 21st century, in the spirit of Micah and Catherine McAuley, act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with our God. Pope Francis In his first Homily to the Cardinals and believers, after his election, offers us a new insight and image. He spoke of St. Joseph, the husband of the Virgin Mary,  as the custodian or protector of Jesus and Mary when they were in danger. He strongly suggests that we are all called to be Custodians and Protectors, all peoples, all religions and none, governments, organisation and societies all who have positions of authority. All are called to be the Custodians and Protectors of our world and its peoples.

The areas he highlights for  Custody and Protection are:

1.Creation, God’s plan for the Universe unfolding in our times through human, creative intellect. 
   has to be protected from misuse from humanity's, pride, greed and arrogance.
2.Love, concern and respect for all people;
3.Concern for the family,
4.Concern for the development of sincere wholesome friendships.

 Picture, above by Sr. Anne Hewitt