Pardon me while I rant a bit over a blog post that has been making the rounds today to the cheers of all who have shared it.
Something I fear that some Catholics, including clergy, are going to have to get straight (especially with this Pope):
Extending mercy to the disaffected is not about you. It is not about you being a "nice guy," being liked, or making yourself or anyone else "feel good." Mercy is also not about what people "deserve" or are "owed" (that is "justice").
Mercy is about reconciling to God those actively seeking a way home. It is about rushing out to meet them where they are and bringing them in from the elements. It goes above and beyond what is hoped for, even if those who remained in the fold all along are grumpy about the lavish display of love for the prodigal. It treats persons as unique individuals with inherent dignity, not as cookie-cutter shapes all to be baked at the same temperature and decorated identically.
Yes, the Church has some important disciplines surrounding the sacraments that must be respected. These disciplines are a protective casing that ensures that the sacraments remain available for all. But the disciplines are not like mattress tags, constantly stuck to the mattress because no one knows what they are for and when it is okay to take them off.
In short, the sacraments were made for man, not man for the sacraments.
(Image: Illustration of Christ's parable of the prodigal son, Pixabay.)