The Reception of Mercy Begins With Repentance, by Dr. Jeff Mirus

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By Dr. Jeff Mirus, Catholic Culture, Nov 04, 2022

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and


As I mentioned in the previous installment (The Church: Mere exclusion or inclusion through mission), the Church’s missionary character is ordered toward the extension of God’s mercy to those who either do not know Him or estrange themselves from Him through sin. For this reason, the Church’s very exclusivity as a body of believers who take the saving work of Jesus Christ seriously is itself ordered to mercy. In fact, if the demands of this exclusivity are blurred, then in exactly the same measure is the ready availability of the Church’s mercy reduced.

Now the reason for this is simple. Once again I will quote Our Lord’s initial and most fundamental message: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mk 1:15). Of course, the central point of Christianity can be expressed in a wide variety of ways. For example, we can say that Christ died for our sins, to reconcile us to the Father. But we can also say that, to understand what this means, we must accept the teachings of Christ and the Church which He established to carry on His mission. And we can also stress that each person must accept this reconciliation for himself and actuate the resulting transformation by God’s grace through the repentance of his sins. …

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