Lord, Be Merciful

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The WORD in other words (2022) by Fr Atilano Cocuera SVD – Divine Word Seminary Tagaytay

Feast of Saint Matthew, Evangelist and Apostle – September 21

“Dein will ich sein imLebenwie in Tod.” This is a prayer I fell in love with years ago written in German, the language of our Founder, St. Arnold Janssen. Translated, it says, “I want to be with you in life and in death.” Every time I entered the church I recited this prayer.

Later, I discovered the Fatima prayer: “Oh my God, I believe in you, I adore you, I hope in you, and I love you…” So I shifted from German to English every time I was inspired to pray or felt God’s presence.

Still later, when I read the letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians, the first reading today: “…Live a life with perfect humility . . . bearing with one another lovingly,” my constant prayer became, “Lord, make me humble, loving and forgiving.”

Today’s Gospel reading on the feast of St. Matthew is leading me to shift from my frequently said prayer to another one-liner. This will be based on what Jesus said in response to the complaint hurled at him by the Pharisees when he sat at the table with Matthew and other tax collectors. He said, “It is mercy I desire and not sacrifice.” Connecting these words of Jesus to one of the Beatitudes of St. Matthew, “Blessed are the merciful…”, I now adopt another prayer which will be a favorite one for a long time, namely, “Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner.”

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