I see phrases bandied about like “the conditional love of God” or “the unconditional mercy of God”.
Is God’s love really unconditional? I mean suppose we choose to ignore His commandments and remain unrepentant? Are not following His commandments, believing in Him, striving to receive the sacraments worthily conditions?
God’s love and God’s mercy - are truely undconditional!!
It is the low-hanging fruit…all you have to do is reach out and take it!! The power of free will allows you to choose and do this.
If you choose not to take this low hangin fruit - you may die!
If you choose to take the fruit - you will surely live!!
What is required ? Yes - required - your love of/to God in return.
God’s love is not human love. Human love is based on feelings and rooted in emotions. God’s is a love that operates apart from emotions. His love does not waver day by day. It is the total commitment of His Being to seek our highest and best, and to bring us to our fullest potential as humans.
He is Love, and He loves us because of who He is, not because of who we are. He does not love what we do, but He is committed to us, pursuing us down every blind alley and path of foolishness. He will not let us go. His is a love that is not looking for what it can get out of us, but a committed love that searches for opportunities to give to us.
Your quote from James 2:13 talks about God’ judgment, not his mercy. Do you think God’s judgment cancels out His mercy?
Let me use this analogy to explain my point. Supposing there was a judge who had to fine his best friend $100000 in court. He had to do so because that’s what the friend deserves (according to the law, and the friend is 100% guilty). That’s the judgment part. Now supposing the judge then came down from his seat and wrote the friend a check for $100000 from his own savings. That’s the mercy part. The two do not cancel each other out. Now God judges us but He also paid the price of sin (which is death) so we don’t need to go to Hell. We didn’t do anything to deserve His payment. Furthermore, God gives us the Holy Spirit to guide us into not having to pay the price again, and all we have to do is listen and obey!
First of all please note that I personally follow the Divine Mercy devotional of St. Faustina. See my signature link. I know a few things about Divine Mercy and I promote this devotion because I believe in God’s Mercy. It’s the cornerstone of my own personal salvation plan.
Secondly, you need to understand that EVERYONE is judged. There is no escaping it. If in your judgement by God it has been revealed that you have not shown mercy to others in your life - you will not be shown God’s Mercy. In the latter case, your sentence will be completely fair and rendered according to your works and deeds. But if you have unforgiven mortal sins - you go to hell. If you have serious faults and imperfections arising from prior forgiven sins that were not overcome in life but have no unforgiven grave sins you are given a sentence in purgatory. This purgatory sentence is very exacting and will require you to atone and perfect every single fault of forgiven sins (both moral and venial) that you did not adequately repent for and offset through penance in your life.
This is why doing indulgences is extremely important because the Saints have revealed to us that sin is so offensive to God’s presence and His Justice that it can take considerable penance to offset the temporal debts for even small venial sins (previously forgiven or forgiven automatically as a condition of accepting our death passion as just).
If on the other hand you have shown considerable Mercy to others in your life AND you have not died impenetent (unrepentant grave sins) then, yes, appeals to Mercy are unconditional and you will be given unfathomable Mercy. God will considerably reduce your purgatory time (perhaps even set it aside at His discretion) and not be so exacting in his judgement of you. But remember - Purgatory IS a manifestation of God’s Mercy. This is not to say however that if you have committed mortal sins and died impenetent and not responded to God’s Mercy in your hour of death that you will be forgiven of your mortal sins. One must not reject God’s Mercy!
This is the thing that most people do not get. Those who die impenetent in mortal sin are so alienated from God that at death when the veil of the sensual world is lifted and we are in a pure spiritual state the soul acts out of its own true nature (either Good or Evil). An evil soul so immersed in a life of unrepentant sin simply can not and will not on its own accept God’s Mercy owing to its own self pride. That is, in the presence of God’s unfathomable holiness an impenetent soul judges itself in self-pride as utterly and shamefully naked (like Adam in the garden after he sinned) and sees itself to be completely unworthy of God. It becomes to itself a creature so self loathing and despicable that it scorns itself and despairs (as did Judas). It flees God’s Holiness to hide in the only place open to it - hell. This soul can not imagine to appeal to God’s Mercy since it has sentenced itself through pride that God could never be so Merciful to forgive it; thus is severs itself from Mercy. On the other hand, if a friend(s) at the deathbed of such a gravely ill soul prays the Divine Mercy Chaplet for it we are told that God’s Mercy will flood such a soul with Merciful grace so unfathomable that before its final disposition it will be able to accept the invitation to Mercy, somehow supernaturally regret and repent of its sins and escape hell.
St. Faustina reveals to us that in the moments of death God out of His Mercy calls each soul 3 final times to appeal to His Mercy (e.g. recollect Peter being asked 3 times by Jesus if he loved Him after Peter has previously denied Him 3 times). If the soul does not respond, and for the aforementioned reasons very many will not, those in mortal sin are condemned to hell. Those that accept Mercy will be given Mercy in accordance with the Divine and unfathomable reconciliation of God’s Justice with His Mercy.
Mercy wins out over Justice for those that can and will appeal to it
Yes James I would agree with you - mostly. However God’s Mercy is not dependent upon our mercy, it is present even without us acting upon it - good or bad, sin or no sin. God’s Mercy has been then from the beginning and it upon us to receive it - to reach out to it.
We are close - but you are contradicting yourself. Your last few words are correct - we must “reach out to it [mercy]”. God does not force His Mercy on us if we do not want it. It comes down to choice and a person who has died impenetent has committed the one unforgivable sin - a sin against the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit that we all received at baptism calls to us all our life out of Mercy to repent - but those dieing impenetent have ignored Mercy’s call and have thus blasphemed the Holy Spirit. We can not know precisely what goes in the supernatural period of time between that small mysterious interval where physical life passes and our souls are released and the instant before they are judged. So Jesus as High Priest is in a position to supernaturally forgive sins in this mysterious interval when He asks “do you love me” three times. It is still up to the soul to reply yes or to look away in shame and pride to condemn itself in its silence.
As a final comment I will say that the omniscient God is timeless and knows all things past, present and future. Prayer too is timeless and spans the physical to the supernatural and is able to reach back in time and appeal to God at any point in our time-line to present itself to petition God for consideration. Therefor, I urge people who have deceased family or friends to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet at the hour of Christ’s death (the hour of power) for any and all people you know who haved died without receiving last rites. Even those that have died centuries ago can still benefit from our appeals to Divine Mercy. God hears these prayers to Divine Mercy in our “now” but also simultaneously at the same time just before the intended benefactor died and is judged. He takes these prayers into consideration before He renders judgement. St. Faustina tells us that the Divine Mercy prayer can not fail if the petitioner himself shows mercy in his life.