A compassionate and loving God asks us took beyond ourselves.

“But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger abounding in love and faithfulness” (Psalm 86:15).

We believe in a God of mercy and compassion, who is tolerant of our weaknesses and forgiving our offenses.

In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis invites us to open “our hearts to wretchedness or suffering” which leads us into a different relationship with God and has profound implications for the way we live our lives.

In essence, our spirituality must be one of mercy which asks us to focus on the needs of others and helping them achieves fullness of life.

What, then, is our response to the other? How do we move to action? Are we honest? Do we delude ourselves by rationalizing our decisions that are actually in our interest and address our comfort while believing we are acting justly?

Our desire for comfort and safety drives the decisions we make. For example, I might support a charity, but will oppose a half-way house being built in the neighborhood. Also, are we attached to our particular ways of doing things that we can’t entertain other possibilities?

It is difficult to hear the voice of the poor and truly understand the impact of our decisions on their lives.

When we make decisions, have we actually listened to the needs? Do we find ways to dismiss views different from ours or views that are couched in a different language? Does listening to the poor in a way accuse us?

Focusing on ourselves blinds us to the needs of the injured and homeless neighbor in the Good Samaritan story.

A compassionate and loving God who looks beyond our faults asks us to look beyond ourselves.