October 22, 2020

Homily Five on the Interpretation of the Doxology: "The Mercy of God" (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)


On the Interpretation of the Doxology:
The Mercy of God

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou
God, by revealing Himself to the Prophets and the Righteous of the Old Testament, but also to the Apostles and Saints in the New Testament, revealed Himself and people came to know some of His attributes, that He is love, merciful, philanthropic, just, etc. The names by which we know God are His energies. That is, God showed, at times, His compassion to sinners and they realized that He was compassionate and philanthropic. He showed love and they understood that God loves.

In these revelations God revealed to the Righteous and the Saints that He is merciful. That is why in the Church, when we ask God for something, then we justify it: "For You are a merciful and philanthropic God and to you we ascribe glory."

This we confess and this is why we ask in the verse of the Doxology:

"Lord, let Your mercy come upon us as we have hoped in You."

Towards the end of the doxology we find the prayer:

"May your mercy be extended to those who know you."

Both of these verses refer to the mercy of God, which we ask God to send us and to remain on us.

First of all, it is emphasized here that God's mercy is eternal, because it is God's Grace, and that it is poured out richly on people. Then, two great truths are emphasized, the first being that the mercy of God is poured out upon us, depending on the hope we have in God, and the second being that the mercy of God remains on those who know God.

Hope and faith in God are a prerequisite for God to send His mercy. If we do not hope, we do not believe, then God does not have mercy, precisely because He does not violate our freedom. We pray to God with "Lord have mercy", but God has mercy on us according to our faith, our patience.

God's mercy, that is, His Grace, is shown in the fact that although we, who are His creations, sin daily, nevertheless He, as a loving Father, does not punish us, but forgives us, waits for us and continues to benefit us, because He wants our return. We live this every day. That is why we chant elsewhere: "May Your mercy, Lord, follow me every day of my life." What would we be without the mercy and love of God!

But God's mercy is manifested not only in His tolerance when we sin, but also in the increase of His love when we love Him. A relationship with God is a loving one. When He reveals to us the glory of His face, then our love for Him increases and we want to see even more glory, so we ask God to extend His mercy. Sometimes we recognize that our life is not what God wants it to be and ask for an extension of His love and mercy. This extension of God's mercy is manifested only to those who know Him, that is why we chant: "
May your mercy be extended to those who know you." He who does not know God, attributes to Him all negative situations, hatred, wickedness, revenge, etc. But God is love and mercy.

The mercy of God, the Grace of God protects us and helps us not to sin, at least not to fall into mortal sins and not to turn away from Him. If God took His mercy away, then we could commit the greatest sins with the passions we have within us. But God's mercy forgives us when our perversions lead us to apostasy from God and to many indecencies. That is why our request must be daily: "May your mercy be extended to those who know you". Amen.
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.