If I asked you this question, “Does sin offend God,” most of you would say yes. In fact, sin is defined as “an offense against God.” Sin is also an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is a failure to genuinely love God and neighbor. Now, allow me to pose a more perplexing question. Assuming we agree that sin offends God, “what pleases Him?” You might be surprised to see how Jesus answers this question. Please read more…….
We should strive to avoid grieving God. Ephesians 4:30 says, “And do not grieve the holy Spirit of God, with which you were sealed for the day of redemption.” In Psalms 51:3-19, we read the account of King David pleading with God to blot out his transgressions. In verse 4 he says, “Thoroughly wash away my guilt; and from my sin cleanse me.” David begs God to turn His face away from his sins and asks Him to create in him a new heart. At the conclusion of these verses David says, “A contrite, humbled heart, O God, you will not scorn.”
David makes it clear that our sin offends God. Now that we know what offends God, is it important then that we also understand what pleases God? I think so. This is what is written in Ephesians 5:8-10, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth. Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.”
Permit me to introduce to those of you who do not know her, Maria Faustyna Kowalska who is known to Roman Catholics as Saint Faustina, a Polish Roman Catholic nun and mystic. She was the third of ten children born in a poor devout Catholic family in Glogowiec, Poland. As a result of her diary which she titled Divine Mercy in My Soul, she has come to be known to many as “The Secretary of God’s Mercy.”
According to Faustina on the night of Sunday, February 22, 1931, Jesus appeared to her as the “King of Divine Mercy“, robed in a white garment. Her diary documents the messages that Jesus gave to her. I want to focus on just one of those messages today. The following comes from the Diary of St. Faustina, entry 1485.
Jesus said: “My mercy is greater than your sins and those of the entire world. Who can measure the extent of My goodness? For you I descended from heaven to earth; for you I allowed Myself to be nailed to the cross; for you I let My Sacred Heart be pierced with a lance, thus opening wide the source of mercy for you. Come, then, with trust to draw graces from this fountain. I never reject a contrite heart. Your misery has disappeared in the depths of My mercy. Do not argue with Me about your wretchedness. You will give Me pleasure if you hand over to Me all your troubles and griefs. I shall heap upon you the treasures of My grace.”
NOTE: Neither Catholics nor non-Catholics are required to believe in these private revelations. Saint Faustina’s revelations do not contradict the apostolic faith (nihil obstat). Her canonization does imply a general positive approval of her Diary but does not mean that the Church teaches that her Diary is an “infallible” Church document nor is it “inerrant.” The Church never strictly requires anyone to believe in any doctrine that was not explicitly or implicitly contained in “the apostolic deposit of faith” taught by the apostles themselves.
Whether or not you believe her story, it does add emphasis to the point that Jesus strongly desires to forgive us. In fact, giving over our troubles and grief gives Him great pleasure. During a visit to her tomb in 1997, Pope John Paul II said this, “There is nothing that man needs more than Divine Mercy – that love which is benevolent, which is compassionate, which raises man above his weakness to the infinite heights of the holiness of God.”
Great saints as well as great Biblical figures had flaws and, in some cases, very sinful and disturbing backgrounds. Yet, God chose them for key roles in His Kingdom. He is calling us too. We only need to avail ourselves to His mercy. When we do, we please Him greatly. God’s ways may seem foolish, but God chooses the foolish to shame the wise and the weak to shame the strong (Corinthians 1:20-30).
To be quite clear, I don’t believe God needs us so that He will be more pleased. God is fully complete. What God desires, however, is our love and devotion. Jesus says, love God with all your heart, soul, mind and being (Matthew 22:37). When we sin, we fail to do this. When we repent and hand over to Him our troubles and grief, we more fully experience His love for us and that does please Him greatly.
I will conclude by going back to my opening question. What pleases the Lord? To find the answer, Jesus’s words to Faustina bear repeating. “Your misery has disappeared in the depths of My mercy. Do not argue with Me about your wretchedness. You will give Me pleasure if you hand over to Me all your troubles and griefs. I shall heap upon you the treasures of My grace.”
Heavenly Father, thank you for the abundant, limitless, and undeserved mercy that you pour out on me through your Son Jesus Christ. Help me to live my life in a way that reflects my gratitude for your mercy. Amen!
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