As I sit in my rocking chair this morning before dawn, I hear inside me the refrain from Psalm 145, often sung in our Liturgy of the Word: The Lord is kind and merciful; the Lord is kind and merciful. Isaiah has already prepared me for the sense of peace that washes over me as I rock to the tune. He asks, Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? (IS 49:15) I picture my mother rocking my brother to sleep while crooning such tender words, just as Isaiah has conjectured the care of God for each of us. The Lord is kind and merciful… One translation of verses 17-18 of the psalm praises God saying: You open your arms of love to us and the longing of each soul is deeply satisfied. Your paths run straight to every creature ever made. Your compassion fills up everything you do. I marvel at the sheer poetry of the psalmist’s message and again I hear: The Lord is kind and merciful…
Pope Francis reminds us that Jesus images perfectly these qualities of God’s mercy and kindness and calls us often to do the same. In a general audience on March 27, 2013 he said it this way: What does being a Christian mean? What does following Jesus on his journey to Calvary on his way to the cross and the resurrection mean?…He spoke to all without distinction: the great and the lowly, the rich young man and the poor widow, the powerful and the weak; he brought God’s mercy and forgiveness; he healed, he comforted, he understood; he gave hope; he brought all to the presence of God who cares for every man and every woman, just as a good father and a good mother care for each of their children. God does not wait for us to go to him but it is God who moves toward us, without calculation, without quantification. That is what God is like.
Today I am thankful for Isaiah, the psalmist and Pope Francis for bringing me to a place of peace, a remembrance of motherly tenderness and an assurance of God’s all-giving and forgiving mercy. What more can I ask of this day but to spread the word that, indeed, the Lord is kind and merciful.