Following is my March column that appears in this week’s print edition of The Catholic Post.
There’s at least one person in everyone’s life, more than one if you’re fortunate. Being around that person often makes you feel better, braver, and more peaceful After a conversation with the person, you feel loved and cared for.
This may date me, but to me the concept is most fully expressed in the 1990s Rich Mullins song, “Let Mercy Lead.” The refrain includes the line:
“Let mercy lead
let love be the strength in your legs
and in every footprint that you take there’ll be a drop of grace.”
This quality doesn’t mean the person is always perfect, or you always have that experience with him or her. But it does mean that in many interactions, the person is a conduit of grace.
Sometimes the one who “leads with mercy” is a family member, or a dear friend. Sometimes, the person is one we know only as an acquaintance, or only meet on one occasion.
Sometimes, that person can be an author. One such authors is Dawn Eden, who writes from such a place of peace and spiritual depth that nearly everything she writes contains a “drop of grace.”
Her latest book, Remembering God’s Mercy: Redeem the Past and Free Yourself from Painful Memories, is an excellent example of this gift. As Eden writes in the preface: “I wrote this book to share the good news that Jesus Christ heals our memories.”
Eden’s 2012 book, My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints, was chiefly written for those who have experienced childhood sexual abuse. Even for those readers, like me, who have not experienced abuse, that book was relevant and edifying. That book was part memoir and part meditations on what the saints can teach us about wholeness of body, mind and spirit, even in the face of searing memories and experiences.
After the publication of My Peace I Give You, Eden received many requests to write a book that included the same healing spirituality, but for those who have not suffered abuse. Remembering God’s Mercy is that book, and it covers in a fresh way many of the same themes.
What sets Remembering God’s Mercy apart is Eden’s focus on the work and words of three Ignatians: St. Ignatius, St. Peter Faber, and Pope Francis. Each chapter of the book is titled with a line from Ignatius’ “Suscipe” prayer, (Receive, O Lord, all my liberty…”), and surveys the theme of the line from an Ignatian perspective. This framework works extremely well in organizing the book and allowing for depth. Pope Francis’ words on memory, and how God heals our memory, is especially fascinating and well worth pondering.
Ever since she wrote My Peace I Give You, Eden has often been invited to parishes and groups to speak. People’s questions & comments also helped inform what’s covered in Remembering God’s Mercy. For instance, a question from a woman asking if there are any parts of the Bible that reference people who block out their memories, and then get their memories back. After reflection, Eden shares Pope Francis’ writing on memory, and how the first thing Jesus does after his resurrection is “that he restores our memory.”
Remembering God’s Mercy is appropriate during this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy not only because of its title, but primarily because Eden explores so capably how God’s mercy heals and transforms our memories.
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This column is part of the “Brace Yourselves” series.
Never say you weren’t warned.
Here is my 2012 review of Dawn’s prior book, My Peace I Give You. As I mentioned above, it’s a truly worthwhile read.