Day six: Blessed are the merciful
Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023
22nd week in Ordinary Time
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Mt 5:7).
On the sixth day of the novena before the beatification of the Ulma family we want to reflect on another beatitude of Jesus, which shows that mercy is the way to happiness. We cannot allow the desire and concern for justice to make us hard and cruel. Perfect justice can only be attained through mercy. The Psalmist points this out when he states that “the righteous one is merciful” (cf. Ps 37:21). This means that showing mercy is the actualization of justice.
Every Mass is a school of mercy, as here Christ constantly teaches us about sacrificial love. To learn this lesson today, let us humbly stand before God and apologize to him for any offense we may have committed against brotherly love. Following in the footsteps of the martyrs of Markowa, let us believe with renewed fervor that by opening ourselves to God’s mercy, we too, in our times, will be able to be apostles of mercy.
– Lord Jesus, present among us in the Most Blessed Sacrament, we thank you for the Gospel verses about the merciful Samaritan. The Ulmas frequently referred to them to learn mercy, right down to the heroic gift of their lives for the persecuted and murdered Jews. Let us resolve to follow in their footsteps and, in our own circumstances of life, let us see those around us who need help, and by being compassionate, let us try to help them in a concrete way.
– Showing forgiveness to those who trespass against us is the hardest form of mercy. If we struggle with the decision to forgive, with humility and faith let us ask this favor of the merciful Christ. Let us do it, mindful of his words from the Cross: “Father, forgive them: They do not know what they are doing” (Lk 23:34).
– Showing mercy is the ultimate argument in the face of violence and evil. Mercy offers a chance for a new beginning. Let us pray so that our communities, especially families and parishes, be increasingly inclusive of those who, living by mercy, renew human relations and strengthen the kingdom of God on earth.
Images credit: From the archive of Mateusz Szptyma. All rights reserved.
Learn More About the Ulma Family
Under the Nazi occupation of Poland during World War II, Jews were indiscriminately arrested, imprisoned, and killed. Christians who helped them hide or escape placed themselves in the same peril. Josef and Wiktoria Ulma, who, guided by the parable of the Good Samaritan, which was underlined in red ink in the family Bible, sheltered a Jewish family in their village of Markowa. As a result, in 1944, Josef, Wiktoria, and their seven small children – one not yet born – were murdered by the Nazis. This biography tells the story of the heroic virtue and sacrifice that lead to their beatification.