Real Mercy by Jacques Philippe


  • “Mercy” in Latin = “misery” + “heart”.

  • Mercy is the heart of God that comes to meet every human misery.

Our Problem:

  • We struggle to accept & receive the mercy of God because we have very little trust in God’s forgiveness. And so we struggle to be merciful to others as well.

What permits us to access God’s mercy? 

  1. Give everything to Mary. This was St. Louis de Montfort’s great secret, that “if you give yourself completely to Mary, she will give herself completely to you” (18). Mary

    is the door of mercy because through her the mercy of God -Jesus Christ – entered into the world. So Mary has the deepest knowledge of God and His mercy. Also, we know that Mary wants to give us this knowledge of God’s mercy (Fatima example). The mystery of the Immaculate Conception shows that the mercy of God will always be greater than the sin of men” ~ Pope Francis

  2. Trust. More trust you have, more mercy you’ll receive.  On the contrary, what is most offensive to God is our not trusting him. The foundation of trust = The Mercy of God. We trust in God’s mercy alone and not on our own works.
  3. Humility. Whereas we often would like to be perfect & infallible on our own merits, we must, as St. Therese says, “humble oneself, recognize one’s nothingness” in order to receive everything from the mercy of God. We should rejoice in our poverty “because the goods news is for the poor. Mercy is for those who need it, who feel profoundly that they cannot save themselves. Our only hope is not through our own works; it’s hope in the infinite mercy of God” (16).
  4. Gratitude. “The more we thank God, the more our heart is open to receive even more of his mercy and his gifts” (17). Mary’s Magnificant is a song of gratitude.
  5. Forgiveness. If you do not forgive and show mercy towards others, God cannot forgive and show mercy towards you. Mary’s maternal & merciful heart & the delicacy of her love shown at the wedding feast of Cana towards the needs of others. In family life – the grace of self-knowledge – our weakness & faults come to light. See how much we need God’s help & mercy to truly love.
    • Forgiveness is an act of:
      • Freedom – the freedom to love even the one who has done you wrong (30). We must ask God for the grace to forgive. “When we find it too hard to say, ‘I forgive you,’ we too must turn to the Father and say those words of Jesus, ‘Father, forgive him/her because he/she does not know what he/she is doing,’ because in the end only God can really forgive” (31). To forgive, we have to go through the heart of the Father (31).
      • Faith – God can convert something good even out of evil.
      • Hope – There is hope for this person’s future conversion. We also set them free and in turn, set ourselves free!
      • Love – To love freely is the only way to be satisfied and happy, cancelling debts without expecting recompense, “to forgive the evil that has been done to us and not demand anything for the good we do to others” (42). Jesus’ look at Matthew the tax collector – a look of love, a gaze of mercy and hope, that set Matthew free. Jesus looks at us this way too. “He sees beyond appearances, beyond sin, beyond failures and unworthiness” ~ Pope Francis. Jesus sees further than sin. He sees deeper than our wounds. He sees the child of God within us. He sees our dignity as children of God. And in looking at us, he sets this child of God free (44). We must allow ourselves to be look at by Jesus with this look of mercy that does not judge us but instead sees our identity as children of God and encourages and raises us up. We too can look at others in a way that gives life; it’s a gaze of goodness, of mercy, of encouragement and hope (42).  VS. a way of looking at someone that can bring death – a look that accuses, that closes, that judges, that rejects.
      • Humility – Forgiveness demands humility because when we forgive, it means that there is no saint and sinner, but two sinners who are both poor and walk together on the same level (39).


St. Therese of Lisieux on the mercy of God

Close around you, Mary, I love to stay small” = Close to Mary, we love our littleness.

The more that you love your smallness and your poverty, the more Jesus will give you grace

“Oh, how little known are the goodness, the merciful love of Jesus. Brother, it is true, to enjoy these treasures, one must humble oneself, recognize one’s nothingness, and that is what many souls do not want to do”

We have to recognize that everything comes from God, and accept dependence on the mercy of God. All our riches are not our own or what we create. Our riches are the love of God for us.

Even if I committed every crime that is possible to commit, I would have the same trust, and I would still go and throw myself into the arms of God, asking of course for forgiveness, but certain of being forgiven. My trust is not in my works. It is in the mercy of God” 

“We experience such great peace when we’re totally poor, when we depend on nothing except God” 

“Oh, how happy I am to see myself imperfect and to have such need of God’s mercy at the moment of my death” 

Our Lord knew that I was far too weak to face temptation; he knew that I would certainly have burned myself in the bewildering light of earthly things, and so he did not let it shine in my eyes. Where stronger souls find joy, but remained attached because they’re faithful, I found only misery. I can’t take any credit for not getting in entangled in this way; it was only because God had mercy on me and preserved me. Without his help, I might have fallen even lower than St. Mary Magdalene. His wonderful words to Simon the Pharisee,  ”to whom less is forgiven, he loves less” (Luke 7:47), echo so sweetly in my soul, for he has forgiven me much MORE than he forgave her. I can’t really explain my feelings about this, but perhaps an example will give you an idea of what I mean: suppose the son of a skillful doctor falls over a stone lying in his path and breaks a limb. His father hurries to help him and dresses his wound so skillfully that it heals completely. Naturally, he is quite right to love such a father and will be most grateful them. But supposing again this doctor saw the dangerous stone, anticipated that his son will fall over it and moved it out-of-the-way when no one was looking; then the son would know nothing of the danger from which his father’s loving care had saved them and so would have no reason to show gratitude. He would love him LESS than if he had healed some serious wound. But if he did find out the truth, surely his love would be even GREATER? I am that child, the object of the father’s loving providence, “who did not send his son to call the just, but sinners” (Luke 5:32). He wants me to love him because he has forgiven me, not much, but everything. He did not wait for me to love him with a great love, like Magdalene’s, but made me see that He had love me first, with an infinite Providence, so that now I may love him in return even onto folly. I have often heard it said in retreats and elsewhere that an innocent soul never loves God as much as a repentant one, and how I long to prove that that is not true!”


  1. Let Jesus look at you. Allow yourself to be seen. He loves you and sees your deepest identity (45). Allow yourself to be looked at by Jesus with this look of mercy that does not judge us but instead sees our identity as children of God and encourages and raises us up (45). Allow yourself to be healed by Jesus’ look. “Every time Jesus looks at us, he sets us free; he gives us a new life. Let us allow Jesus to look at us” (46). 
  2. Ask for the grace of looking at each other in our family life with the same merciful gaze that God has for us (48-9).


  1. “Lord, you see my limits, my hardness of heart, and only you can help me. Only you can heal me and give me the love I need to love others, the love I need to love my wife or my children” (26-7).
  2. “Lord, may the fire of your love and mercy burn in my heart, that it might purify and renew me so I can communicate it to the world” (70).
  3. “I believe in your love. I want to live by your love so that the world can be healed, because only your love and your mercy can heal the wounds of man today” (71).

Arrow Prayers:

  1. Jesus I trust in Your Mercy.

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