Mercy Bible Study: Session 6 Reflection

Whew! We made it to the end of the bible study, only this last chapter to go! How was it for ya? I hope you were as enlightened and as challenged I was!

Mercy Bible Study: Session 6 Reflection

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The crux of this session is the mandate to be merciful if we expect God to have mercy on us. To illustrate his point, Father Pacwa expounds a bit about the parable of the “Good Samaritan” and the parable of “Lazarus and the Rich Man.” He shows the reader that in both cases, it is how we treat others and how we extend mercy toward them has a direct relation to the mercy we will receive.

In fact, in the discussion questions, Father pointedly asks, “Whom in your life do you need to extend mercy and forgiveness toward? Remember the words of the Our Father: ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.'”

This question strikes a chord in my heart. Recently, a reader bravely shared with me her struggle with anger and bitterness. Oh, that is such a struggle I can relate with! Long-time readers may know that I was born with mild cerebral palsy. I was bullied while growing up and had other things happen that left me wounded. Because of these things, I struggled a long time with forgiveness and mercy. I won’t go as far as to say that I wished ill on those persons but offering forgiveness seemed impossible.

Through the grace of God, and help from some wonderful people, I have been able to heal in many ways and have been able to forgive those who have hurt me. However, it is not an easy process. It takes time. It takes work and it takes patience and it takes the willingness to want to move past the anger and bitterness and turn toward mercy and forgiveness. I have had to forgive and re-forgive. I have had to accept where I am and sometimes just say, “Lord, I want to forgive. I can’t forgive right now but I want to want to forgive. Help me.”

And, guess what? I still have to forgive. I (and you) will be hurt throughout our lives. We will always have people to forgive and we will always need forgiveness for the hurt (knowingly or unknowingly) we have caused others.

Therefore, I ask Father Mitch’s question again: Whom in your life do you need to extend mercy and forgiveness toward? What steps can you take now to begin the healing process in your life? I encourage you deeply consider these questions. Know that I pray for you daily! May God bless you and bring you ever closer to His Sacred Heart.

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Mercy Bible Study: Session 6 Readings

Almost there! We are finally entering session 6 which is the last session in the book. This book/bible study has been so enriching, challenging and stretching for me and I hope it was to you. 🙂

Mercy Bible Study: Session 6 Readings

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This chapter is small, especially in comparison to some of the other chapters. The pages we are reading for July in chapter six are 109-118.

The bible readings are

Daniel 4:19-37

Sirach 1:12

Sirach 1:18

Sirach 1:14

Psalm 111:10

Proverb 1:7

Sirach 2:7, 10-11

Luke 6:36

Sirach 28:4-6

Matthew 5:7

Matthew 23:13-36

Luke 10:25-37

Luke 16:19-31

As always, don’t worry too much about reading every reading. You can also “group read” some of the readings such as reading all the verses from Sirach, all the verses from Luke, etc.

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Mercy Bible Study: Session 4 Readings

Well, with all the drama of April, I wasn’t able to get my reflection for April written. I am happy that I was able to pray through the bible study on my own but I didn’t have any computer time the last couple of weeks. However, since this is the year of mercy, and the bible study is on mercy, I am going to have mercy on myself and let April go. 🙂

Mercy Bible Study: Session 4 Readings

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Session 4 is rather long, pages 69-90, and the scripture verses are as follows:

Exodus 20:1-17

Exodus 25:10-26:37

Deuteronomy 27:1-10

Exodus 21-23; 34

Deuteronomy 12-26

Deuteronomy 27-28

Deuteronomy 31:9-13

Joshua 8:34-35

2 Kings 23:1-3

Nehemiah 8

Genesis 9

Genesis 12:1-3

Genesis 15:1-19

2 Samuel 7

Exodus 19:5-6

Exodus 23:22-23

Leviticus 26

Numbers 14: 6-9

Deuteronomy 8:19-20

Deuteronomy 11:13-32

Exodus 33:19

Hosea 2:16-20

Jeremiah 33:25-26

Isaiah 63:7-64:11

Daniel 9:1-19

Sirach 16:24-18:14

There are A LOT of readings for this session and many of the readings themselves are also long; however, as always, read what you can. Don’t be intimidated by the amount of reading. If you don’t get it all done, no big deal!

To make it easier, so you don’t have to keep coming back to this web page or looking into the book, here is a printable list of the readings (no opt-in required).

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Mercy Bible Study: Lesson 3 Readings

Mercy Bible Study: Session 3 Readings

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We are now moving on to lesson three of the bible study. Here are the readings for this month:

Hosea 14:1-9

Habakkuk 3:1-19

Jeremiah 31:20-33

Ezekiel 39:25, 37:1-27

Zechariah 1:12-17

Jeremiah 25:11, 29:10-14

Isaiah 60:1-22

Judith 13:14-18

Judith 16:1-17

Exodus 15:20-21

Judges 5

1 Samuel 18:7-8

Wisdom 11:1-10

Proverbs 19:18

John 15:1-2

Hebrews 12:7-11

Wisdom 16:1-10

Numbers 21:4-9

John 3:14-17

Wisdom 12:1-22

Genesis 15:16

Leviticus 18:24-30

Deuteronomy 9:1-5

Deuteronomy 12:29-31

Deuteronomy 18:9-12

Wisdom 12:12-21

Again, don’t go crazy here. Read as many of the scriptures that you can but don’t stress if you don’t get them all read. It is better to spend more time reflecting on less verses than it is to rush through all of them. Besides, as you may notices, some of the scriptures overlap and several of them are grouped according the topic.

As usual, I will offer my thoughts and reflections toward the end of the month.

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Mercy Bible Study: Session 2 Reflection

Happy Easter! I can’t believe that Lent is over and we are already into Easter but it was so early this year. And, it’s not very often that Andrew’s birthday comes after Lent since his birthday is March 31!

Mercy Bible Study Session 2 Reflection

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Now, what did you think of the session 2 bible study? It wrestles with why/how God withholds or grants mercy. This is tough to answer because we certainly cannot understand the mind of God. Father Mitch points out how many people and cities were slaughtered while the Israelites took possession of the Promised Land.

In talking about the judgement against Israel’s former rulers, Father Mitch says that their judgement comes from “the lack of mercy shown to the Lord’s heritage, Israel” (pg 38). He goes on to say, “the nation that does not show mercy to the defeated Israel will find no mercy from God” (pg 39).

Those are strong words and they brought to mind the words from the Gospel, “For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you” (Matthew 7:2)

Of course, God is not a tit-for-tat God who keeps nitpicking track of every action and word we say and do against another person. However, how we treat others does matter. It matters a great deal and the scriptures that we read for this session show us that in a big way.

When Israel was held captive by the Babylonians and others, they were treated cruelly and mercilessly. Their rules showed no mercy and thus received no mercy when they were finally conquered. From the lens of our world view, it seems so harsh and it is hard to understand why God would not only allow, but demand the destruction of those people. However, the world was (obviously) very different back then. The society was a physically violent one and the only think I can think of to reconcile this is that God accepted them where they were at, used it to bring them forward.

We see a progression in the bible, and in our own lives. The understanding of God, and of His mercy, had to grow, albeit, slowly until Jesus shows us the true mercy and love of God. And, we are still growing in that understanding.

This was a tough session to work though. What about you? What struck you about this lesson? Do share in the comments.

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Mercy Bible Study: Session 2 Readings

Happy leap day! Gotta love February 29th. 🙂 Anyhow, to recap on the mercy bible study: in January we focused on the introduction, in February, for session one, we focused on human mercy and its correlation to forgiveness, and now we are heading into session two.

Mercy Bible Study Session 2 Readings

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For March, we will read pages 33-45 which will lead us in praying and learning about what it means to withhold and grant mercy. These are the scripture verses to pray over this month:

Joshua 11:1-20

Wisdom 11:1-10

Isaiah 13-23

Jeremiah 1-6

Isaiah 47:7-11

Jeremiah 42:1-10

Nehemiah 1:1-2:8

Remember, don’t try to do all the readings at once. There are 31 days in March so take your time! It is better to go deeper into a few of the scriptures than to rush through all of them. 🙂 If you can, take notes. I can’t wait to see what session 2 has in store for us.

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Mercy Bible Study: Session 1 Reflection

How did you make out with the readings? Interesting, right?! This is going to be a great study!

Mercy Bible Study Session 1 Reflection

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In Session One, Fr. Mitch focuses on “human mercy” and broke each section down loosely based on three types of mercy: Wicked people whose mercy is really cruelty or merciless, so-called religious people whose mercy is selective (they will not forgive the “great sinners”), and the fact that people do not stay faithful to their commitment to principles, thus showing that God’s mercy is far greater than human mercy.

In writing about the wicked people who do not show mercy, Father points out the interconnection between mercy and forgiveness. You can not have one without the other. He uses scripture, especially Matthew 6:12-15. Father reminds us of Jesus’ words, “Forgive the wrongs done to you by a neighbor and your sins will be forgiven” (Pacwa, 22).

Next, Father Mitch goes on to relate healing with mercy and then finally he writes about how God’s mercy is infinitely more real and superior to human mercy. However, for this reflection, I want to focus on the aspect of forgiveness because it is something we (I) struggle with.

At the end of the chapter, one of the discussion questions is “What is the relationship of forgiveness to mercy? (pg 30)? Of course, when we read the chapter, we learn that the relationship between the two is everything. You can not have forgiveness without mercy and you can not have mercy without forgiveness. (Tweet This)

And yet, forgiveness can be SO HARD. When people hurt us (especially when we think the person hurt us on purpose), the last thing we think about is forgiving them. At least, not I! I grumble, nurse my wounds, and sometimes even wish revenge on the person. And yet, Jesus commands us to forgive, to show mercy. If we wish gain forgiveness we most offer forgiveness.

I guess, for some of us, our pride blinds us to the fact that we are sinners, too. We hurt people, either knowingly or unknowingly. We are in no position to judge or hold back forgiveness from others. Thus, is our mission in this year of mercy.

This chapter has challenged me. It has pushed me to remember my failings and to be more compassionate and merciful to those who most need it. What about you? What are your thoughts about the correlation between forgiveness and mercy? Was there something else in the chapter that struck a chord with you? Do share!

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You can’t have mercy without forgiveness or forgiveness without mercy

Mercy Bible Study Introduction Reflection

Mercy Bible Study Intro Reflection

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For this month’s bible study we were to read the introduction pages 13-18. This short chapter is loaded with thought-provoking nuggets. It starts out, of course, by laying out the purpose and sequence of the book. Then Fr Pacwa shows the connection between Saint John Paul II’s  forced labor experience in World War II and his experience of mercy – and why it is relevant. Then it goes on to explain why the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the devotion to His Divine Mercy are intertwined and dearly needed.

For those who are not familiar with either devotion, there are two inserts, once that gives a blurb about the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and a larger blurb about the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I love how Fr. Pacwa reminds us of the amazing promises offered to those who participate in the devotion of the Sacred Heart.

My favorite quote from this section comes toward the end of the introduction:

“A rediscovery of God’s role in history, the importance and benefit of authentic religion, and the need for merciful forgiveness of our rejection of God and his laws will be a tremendous boon for modern people to learn, to extend mercy to fellow human beings equally made in the image and likeness of God.”

This passage struck me because sometimes we have to look into the past before we can go forward. Fr. Pacwa reminds us that we need to step back, regroup, and remember where we came from so that we can go forward as ambassadors of Christ for our fellow people.

Would you agree? What are your thoughts on this chapter or on the above quote?

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Mercy Bible Study by Fr. Pacwa (Introduction)

If you read my post the other day, you know that of my goals for this year is to do one bible study per month.  However, I wasn’t sure how I was going to go about it. I knew for sure that I wanted to tie it into the Jubilee Year of Mercy but that was about it.

Mercy Bible Study Introduction

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As I was searching around online, I found the book, Mercy: A Bible Study Guide for Catholics, by Fr. Mitch Pacwa. Bingo! The book is broken down into six sections and each section includes scripture and catechesis, exercises and reflection/discussion questions (if doing with a group). My plan is to do one chapter per month for the next six months and then choose another book for the rest of the year (which I have picked already, but more on that later!).

To help me stay accountable, I decided to blog through the bible study. And maybe you would like to do the study with me? My plan is to post the readings and scriptures at the beginning of the month and then post my answers/reflections/insights at the end of the month. If you want to follow along you can post your comments or insights, too.

Here we go:

For this month, there is no scripture reading. All you have to do is get the book which you can get inexpensively on Amazon.com and then just read the introduction pages 13-18. Easy peasey. 🙂

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Weekly Goals

Set GoalsWell, adjusting to school turned out more challenging than expected. The two 7 1/2 week semesters is turning out to be more work that even I expected, so as far as goal setting, I didn’t get much else done…

Marriage/Parenting/Home Management Goals

1. Send Michael a “love text” twice this week.

2. Continue reading Little Lord Fauntleroy to Andrew.

3. Organize homeschooling area and  gather materials for new school year.

Personal Goals

4. Get up at 6:00 am. (Mostly got up by 7-7:30. I need to do a better job because getting up earlier will definitely help me manage my time.)

5. Read a chapter each day of the book study I am doing, and spend ten minutes in quiet time.

6. Exercise at least 15 minutes, 5 times this week.

Educational Goals

7. Keep up with reading assignments.

8. Attend first official classes at the Wall campus on Wednesday.

9. Write rough draft of first “close reading” writing assignment.

Blogging/Writing Goals

10. Write two blog posts.

I’ve decided that for the next few months I am going to keep my goal setting to the absolute basics and focus on priorities. As much as I would like to get some extras done, it’s just not going to happen. Therefore, I am going to keep my goals to a minimum, and will just have to let some things slide. Here are my plans:

Marriage/Parenting/Home Management Goals

1. Send Michael a “love text” twice this week.

2. Stay on top of Andrew’s homeschool.

Personal Goals

3. Get up at 6:00 am.

4. Read last two chapters of the book study I am doing, and spend ten minutes in quiet time.

5. Exercise at least 15 minutes, 5 times this week.

Educational Goals

6. Keep up with reading assignments.

7. Write rough drafts of essays for three of my classes.

Blogging/Writing Goals

8. Write at least one blog post a week.

Now it’s your turn. Come join us over at Money Saving Mom with your own goals.