UP Catholic 07 15 2016 E Edition Page 11

www.upcatholic.org THE U.P. CATHOLIC HOSPITALITY LECTURE July 15, 2016 11 Bishop John F. Doerfler, Catholic Social Services of the U.P. wishes to thank you for your dedicated leadership. Your support has helped us improve the lives of numerous U.P. families. Dear Bishop John, May your life in God's service always be filled with Joy. Congratulations! Our Love & Prayers, From the Keweenaw Catholic Community BY JAMIE CARTER THE U.P. CATHOLIC God's richness is so abundant, overflowing that he can afford to be merciful. He doesnt have to hold to the strict justice, but can exceed justice by giving us even what we don't deserve, stated Sister Sara Butler, M.S.B.T. in regards to God's mercy for each of his people. We didnt create ourselves, we can't save ourselves. We have some responsibility, of course for responding to God's mercy, but ultimately it's a gift. During the 31st annual Hospitality Lecture held on May 31 at the Ramada Inn of Mar- quette, Sister Butler spoke on the Year of Mercy. Through her three talks for the day, Sister Butler focused on how the love of God is wrapped in the concept of mercy. In one of her talks, Sister Butler looked at what mercy really is. She asked, is mercy pity, empa- thy and compassion? Is it feeling sorry for somebody? Is it pity that moves our heart when we see somebody else in distress? Yes, mercy includes pity. Is it simply empathy? If I were in that person's place, I would feel the way. Does mercy include empathy? Yes, but it's more than empathy, it's more than pity. She went on to ask if mercy is compassion. Some people say that mercy is simply identical with compassion. That you would feel so strong- ly, be so generous that you would be willing to take on the suffering of another, to accompany someone who was suffering with your own sym- pathy and love. According to Sister Butler, mercy is compas- sion, but it is also pity and empathy, too. Above it all, it has to include forgiveness. There's something about mercy that's differ- ent from compassion in the sense that it usually involves forgiving someone for an offense, said Sister Butler. An offense against ourselves, offense against God's law even, forgiving an of- fense of another. Mercy includes forgiving some- one who doesn't deserve to be forgiven. Mercy has that extra step, which includes forgiveness. Sister Butler also looked to the Psalms and how they illustrate mercy in the way of a covenant. As she stated, the Psalms are the great prayers of the people of Israel, and they celebrate a cove- nant relationship. A covenant relationship Is one of which God does his part and we, his people do our part. God making this commitment to His people and choosing them in all of the people of the earth, made peculiarly is own, He's not willing to lose a single one of us. He wants to safe guard that covenant, that special relationship. Pointing back to what mercy includes, it's not only empathy, compassion. It's forgiveness and love, especially the love that belongs to a cove- nant. Sister Butler expressed that that covenant love God has, is the kind of love a parent has for their child. This child is mine, they belong to me. I never give up on them, never want to lose them. Sister Sara Butler, M.S.B.T. is a professor emerita of dogmatic theology at the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, Ill. She is currently the director of the new evangelization at the Mother Boniface Spirituality Center in Philadelphia. Forgiveness is the key to mercy JOHN FEE THE U.P. CATHOLIC Sister Sara Butler, M.S.B.T. speaks on mercy during the annual Hospitality Lecture.

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