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‘Mercy is the greatest love’

Brother John Paul recites his final vows before Father Wandrille Sevin (right), superior for the worldwide fraternity of Verbum Spei and Father Dominique Fauré, Prior of Verbum Spei’s Boise monastery (center).

By Emily Woodham Assistant Editor

On Divine Mercy Sunday (the second Sunday of Easter), Brothers John Paul and Joseph Smith made their Final Vows at a Mass at St. Mark’s Parish in Boise. Father Dominique Fauré, prior of the community in Boise, and Father Wandrille Sevin, superior for the worldwide Verbum Spei community, concelebrated the Mass with Father Adrian Leszko, parochial vicar at St. Mark’s.

“It is a great joy that today, on this Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, they profess their vows,” said Father Sevin in his homily at the Mass. “But what is mercy?”

Mercy is not a poorer kind of love, adapted because of our sins and frailties, he explained. “Mercy in God is, rather, an overflowing, excessive love. It is the Father’s superabundant love for us. As St. Catherine of Siena says, ‘It is an impetuous torrent.’”

Father Sevin also quoted St. Thomas Aquinas’ definition of mercy: “It is the omnipotence of God at the service of His love.”

“Mercy is an ultimate, perfect love that cannot go any further,” Father Sevin continued. “We must always relate the word ‘mercy’ with the expression of the greatest love.”

Another essential aspect of God’s mercy is that it is very personal. “It is when God surrounds me with His mercy that I discover that I am unique in the eyes of God. Therefore, we can ask ourselves: Which person has lived from the mercy of God the Father in the most personal way? What is the creature that has lived the most from this grace? It is the Virgin Mary in the mystery of Immaculate Conception.”

From the moment of her conception within her mother’s womb, the Virgin Mary was protected from sin by

the greatest love and most beautiful mercy. “The Virgin Mary has never committed a sin, yet more than anyone, she has loved us with the mercy of God the Father for her. She has always been clothed with His mercy, with this limitless love. Without this mercy from God, she would be nothing.”

Father Sevin explained that Religious life is the life of the Virgin Mary in the Church. Choosing Religious life means being with Mary at the foot of the Cross. “When Religious life loses its fervor, it loses its love for Christ crucified and becomes lukewarm; it becomes a disaster.”

Father Sevin continued that a Benedictine monk once told him that hell is not full of sinners; hell is full of Religious people who became accustomed to their Religious life and became lukewarm. “In Religious life, we are the poorest, the weakest. God, knowing our fragility, chooses us to follow Him, wherever He goes.” But obedience to this call is only possible with the help of the Virgin Mary and God’s mercy.

“This Sunday of mercy is the best day of the year to pronounce your vows until death, because never like today have you needed His mercy so much,” he said. “You are committing yourselves to something impossible; you really are crazy. But as Jesus says in the Gospel, ‘Blessed are those who believe without having seen.’”

He said their vows are acts of faith, hope and pure love. “Because of your courage, because you give yourselves unconditionally to God, you are surrounded by God’s mercy.”

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