As we celebrate 20 years of Mercy House, what comes immediately to my mind is the song of Our Lady: “My soul glorifies the Lord… the Almighty has done great things for me”. Yes! If we can say something about MH it is that the Lord, through these many years, has done very great things in the lives of so many people. He is the one acting and working tirelessly in MH. It is true that the Lord acts through so many people who are docile to his will. We cannot name them all without running the risk of forgetting someone. However, one person has to be named, Diana Beamish. She has been the “tool” in God’s hands to make his presence real and active in this work that is his.
Two important aspects come to mind on this occasion: the name of the house and the logo with the words that accompany it.
A book recently published bears the title: “The Name of God is Mercy.” The bible, in particular the gospels, show how true it is that God is Mercy. Jesus is the face of the Merciful God in whom we believe. Life would be impossible in a world where mercy has no place. The Gospel uses another word to express the same reality: compassion. The OT has two words to express the mercy and the love of God for humanity: rahamin and hesed. Both words are very difficult to translate into English, but let’s look at their meaning.
Rahamin, is a feminine word relating to the entrails of a human being or the womb of a woman. In this sense mercy it is something that comes from the depths, the source of life of the human being, a reality relating to God who loves humanity as a woman loves her child. When a human being suffers, God is deeply moved. Pope John Paul I, the pope who was merely 33 days in the see of Peter, once said “God is Mother.”
The other word, hesed, is a masculine word and its meaning is “loyal love,” “mercy,” a reality that expresses a relationship between two people or between God and his people. However, this alliance of loyal love is not between two equal parties. It is not like a contract between human beings, where if one fails the other has the right to revenge. In the Alliance that God establishes with his people, even if people fail, God never fails. God will always be faithful. He will be faithful for two reasons: because he loves his people and for the sake of his own name: “I am God, and not a man” (Hos. 11:9). It is love without interest, only for the sake of love itself.
In these two words we can see the presence of God, as Mother and Father. We are invited to recognize the presence of so many mothers and fathers who selflessly give time, kindness, love and care, soothing the wounds and giving hope in a better future for humanity.
The logo of mercy house is the other noteworthy symbol together with the motto “Love changes everything.”Indeed the symbol and the words go together: two big and strong hands holding a wounded heart and people moving around the heart and the hands. Children, young people and adults, men and women, holding hands, helping each other, dreaming of and building a better world. Each one can see with the eyes of his or her heart how the symbol speaks to him and how beautiful the world would be if all could discover and live under the gentle and deep breeze of God’s love that surrounds our world: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” (John 3:16)