Infinite Mercy . . . Boundless Love

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This is the fourth in a series of short reflections on the eight general attributes of God that can known by reason, as set forth by St. Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica.  I've been learning about St. Thomas and the Summa from Dr. Taylor Marshall and the online classes he offers at the New Saint Thomas Institute.  These reflections are the result of my meditations on each individual attribute during prayer.  As such, they are not meant to be deep theological discussions, but simple spiritual thoughts on the majesty of our God .  I pray you find them beneficial in your walk with Christ.

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God is infinite.

This is the fourth attribute of God according to St. Thomas.  This means that God is "eternal and boundless," (Summa Theologica I, q. 7, art. 1) "that which has no end, no limit, . . . and therefore cannot be measured by a finite standard."  (Catholic Encyclopedia)  The idea of God's infinity most often applies to His not being limited by space and time.  Indeed, as King Solomon declared, "the heavens and earth cannot contain You."  (1 Kings 8:27) Likewise, the Catechism explains that God is "without origin and without end."  (CCC ¶ 213)

The infinite nature of God also applies to His perfections, such as His wisdom, beauty and power.  Yet two things illustrate this reality more than all others: God's infinite mercy and love.  There is a popular saying we've all heard that goes something like this: "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."  Really, this is just a clever way of illustrating that as humans, our mercy often is finite and limited.  For God though, through the person of His Eternal Son Jesus Christ, this expression is non-existent.  Indeed, His mercy towards us is unlimited--infinite--no matter how many times we "fool" Him.  Unconvinced?  Stare at a crucifix for a few minutes.  "He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him?"  (Romans 8:32)

And God's infinite mercy flows directly from His boundless love for us.  A love, as St. Paul tells us, from which we can never be separated: "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."  (Romans 8:38 - 39)

In John's Gospel, Jesus asks the first two disciples that began following him, "What are you looking for?" (John 1:38)  He's asking all of us that same question.  The answer, I believe, is that more than anything, we are looking for His infinite love and mercy.  One doesn't have to observe the state of the world long, especially in the increasingly secularized West, to see that people desperately are thirsting for God's love and mercy--whether they know (or will admit) it or not.  More powerful than any physical thirst, it is a spiritual thirst for Truth and the Eternal.  But what we forget--or don't even realize--is that as much as we thirst for Him, God thirsts for us even more.  Jesus told us so on the cross:  "I thirst."  (John 19:28)

A beautiful prayer attributed to Mother Teresa of Calcutta describes Jesus' unfathomable thirst for us better than anything I have ever read.  The prayer is somewhat unique, in that it is Jesus speaking to us, as opposed to us speaking to Him.  My favorite audio recording of the prayer is by Father John Riccardo, who is a parish priest in the Archdiocese of Detroit and the host of the daily podcast "Christ is the Answer" available on iTunes.  I encourage you to take ten minutes or so to listen to the prayer, and in doing so, I pray that you will be drawn closer to God's infinite mercy and His boundless love.

God love you.

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