Miserere Nobis: A Plea for Conversion in the Midst of a World in Crisis

November 14, 2015

15a56d0b7f9516ffaa99ccdc7dc6726aThe world, it seems, is falling to pieces. Each day brings ever worsening reports of war, violence, and devastation. Protests, riots, bombings, beheadings, rapes, kidnappings, persecutions—the list goes on and on. Yesterday, yet another horror unfolded in Paris, one of the most devastating yet in the Western world, and we feel with foreboding that it likely will not be the last such act of terror.

The weight of such tragedies weighs heavily on us. It is hard not to be downcast when we see evil engulfing all we hold dear like a great and ominous storm cloud, its lightnings and blackness overwhelming all. Neither is it a wonder that a growing number of Americans are on anti-depressants and anxiety medication.

What should we do then? How should we respond? I will leave the difficult answers of a public response to those wiser than myself. But faced with a world broken and bleeding, a world in the throes of a great crisis at once moral, social, and spiritual, I want to issue a call to true, personal conversion, a call to sincere repentance.

What should we do? We should fall on our knees and cry out in the words of the Psalmist, Miserere nostri, Domine, miserere nostri….Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us. We should turn from our sins and toward the living God, the God who loves mankind and who is full of mercy and pardon.

Whom the Lord Loves, he Chastens

Throughout the Scriptures and the earthly sojourn of the Church, it is undeniable that God permitted times of great suffering frequently to chasten the people he loves. While God is never the direct cause of evil (we are, through our sin and disobedience), he permits it as a remedy to drive his forgetful people back to himself. And forgotten him we have. For decades now, perhaps even centuries, modern man has been on a quest to throw off the yoke of Christ’s authority. We have systematically driven him from the public square, from our schools, our families, and even, tragically, from our church. We have replaced this crucified Lord with a veritable anti-Christ—a Jesus of our own making, one who asks nothing of us, who demands no obedience nor conversion, but rather accommodates us in our sins.

Faced with a people whose hearts have gone cold and who have rejected his gentle rule, our Lord allows us to face the consequences of our rebellion toward him full on. Put another way, he allows us to reap what we have sown, and the harvest is rarely pleasant. Yet, our Lord permits this calamity for our good and ultimately because he loves us. As St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Hebrews,

“It is where he loves that he bestows correction; there is no recognition for any child of his, without chastisement. Be patient, then, while correction lasts; God is treating you as his children…. He does it for our good, to give us a share in that holiness which is his.”

Be Converted

Faced with a world in the convulsions of great crisis, then, we must not despair or doubt. Rather, we must turn back to our Father who loves us, full of contrition for our sins and with a heart submissive to his will, no matter the cost. In the words of St. Peter, our first Pope, “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”

Have you been far from God? Be converted with a sincere heart and confess your sins. Hear the words of absolution and be at peace.

Have you perhaps been receiving your Eucharistic Lord with a heart cold and devoid of love? Meditate on the goodness of Jesus to you, his self-emptying on the cross to save you, and stir again the fading coals of love.

Have you failed to pray, to heed the longing that you feel for God? Make time for our Lord intentionally. Give him the best of your day, rising early if you must to call on him.

Have you been in love with the comforts and things of the world, filled with materialism and worldliness? Shed this vain pursuit and return to your good Savior.

Have you been enslaved by lust and hedonism? Reject these empty lies of the devil and seek the love that lasts forever.

Have the cares of this world choked the life of God in your soul? Remember the one thing needful—love of God from whom all good things come.

In short, renew once again your baptismal promises in which you vowed to serve Christ the King and be true to him till death. Do not wait any longer. Answer the call of your confirmation and do battle for the Lord who loves you. Turn from this broken world to our Lord and his merciful Mother, whose infinite compassion will reject no one and from whom alone you can find true healing. Shake off the coldheartedness and apathy that so easily sets in, and once again with fervor determine to follow Christ with your whole heart.

Have hope

Finally, never lose hope, for the Lord’s mercy is endless, and he has promised us that the Woman, our Immaculate Mother Mary, will crush the head of the serpent and seal our Lord’s eternal victory. When the canker of doubt begins to gnaw at you, when you are tempted to despair by both your own sins and the sins of the world, remember the words of Jeremiah, the prophet, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’

When you feel the palpitations of fear and of anxiety besetting you, remember too the words of St. Paul, a man who knew the meaning of suffering:

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will affliction, or distress, or persecution, or hunger, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? For thy sake, says the scripture, we face death at every moment, reckoned no better than sheep marked down for slaughter. Yet in all this we are conquerors, through him who has granted us his love.

Of this I am fully persuaded; neither death nor life, no angels or principalities or powers, neither what is present nor what is to come, no force whatever, neither the height above us nor the depth beneath us, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which comes to us in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.

Sacred heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.

Sam Guzman

Liked this post? Take a second to support us on Patreon!

Don’t Miss a Thing

Subscribe to get email notifications of new posts and special offers PLUS a St. Joseph digital poster.



Reader Interactions


    • AvatarKyle says

      It’s from the scene in ‘Saving Private Ryan’ where the squad is passing through a French town. A French family is trapped at the top of their blown out apartment and the father passes down his little girl. Hope that helps.

        • AvatarPat_h says

          That scene is set in France, of course. Would what that girl is holding be found in the hands of more Frenchmen today. Not to distract from the crisis, but as a response, its among the most effective.

  1. Avatardiamonds4mes says

    Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, 18I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19’Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.…

    Your article reminds me of this. This is what I feel the Lord has been showing me. That we need to repent. To come out of the world. God bless you

  2. AvatarMa Bella Guevara-Eviota says

    Thank you for this beautiful reminder that we are in this world for a purpose, to be with God in Heaven,and not to be mired in the fleeting pleasures of this world. Thank you for words of hope in the midst of hopelessness some or many must be feeling, if for some reason,. they are far from God. A call to conversion is necessary for all of us. Be catholic again, in body and soul.

    Ma. bella g.. eviota, Philippines.

  3. AvatarLucija Suzana says


    Lieve Jezus,
    neem onder Uw bescherming de ziele van die kinderen van God die U niet kennen, die Uw liefde niet erkennen en die Uw belofte niet aanvaarden.
    Stort Uw genade van bekering uit en geef hun het eeuwige leven.
    Wees barmhartig voor al diegenen die niet in Uw tegenwoordigheid geloven en die geen berouw zullen anstreben voor hun zonden.

    Barmhartigheit för de ungdomar som inte erkänner gud

    Käre jesus,
    Ta under ditt beskydd, själen av barn till gud att du inte känner, som inte erkänner din kärlek och som inte accepterar ditt löfte.
    Häll ers nåd konvertering och ge dem evigt liv.
    Vara barmhärtig för alla dem som inte tror på din närvaro, och ångrar sig inte för sina synder anstreben.

    Molitva, Milostinja i Post
    20 min ·
    Sretan vam blagdan sv. Antuna!
    Sv. Antune, uzoru velike svetosti, pomozi mi da živim pravim kršćanskim životom, vjeran milosti i obećanjima svoga krštenja.Ti dobro znaš kolike me poteškoće i pogibli okružuju. Jačaj me da ih požrtvovno svladavam i da uvijek spremno svjedočim svoju vjeru. Isprosi mi da Boga ljubim iznad svega i da trajno prihvaćam njegovu svetu volju – i onda kada to od mene zahtijeva žrtvu i odricanje. Daj mi da iskreno i velikodušno ljubim i svoju braću, da se nikada ne zatvorim u sebe već da služim svomu bližnjemu, da tješim žalosne i pritječem u pomoć siromašnima.Zagovaraj me i jačaj svojim primjerom kako bih mogao živjeti i umrijeti u milosti i prijateljstvu Božjem. Amen.

    31 min ·
    Molitva sv.Grgura iz Nareka
    O,moćni Duše, ulij u moju dušu rosu svoje blagosti,preplavi je puninom svoje milosti.Preori tvrdu zemlju moga srca,da mogu prihvatiti Riječ i donijeti plod.Samo po tvojoj beskrajnoj mudrosti svi darovi cvatu i sazrijevaju u nama.Ispruži svoju desnicu nada mnom i ojačaj me po milosti svojega velikoga milosti svojega velikoga milosrđa.Rasprši maglu zablude i tamu grijeha iz moje duše,da mogu odvojiti svoj duh i srce od zemaljskih stvari i podići ih prema Nebu. AMEN.

    “Kršćanin je čovjek koji u potpunosti živi u Kristu – on živi u vjeri u svoje otkupljenje i u ljubav svojega Otkupitelja, ljubeći one za koje je Krist umro. On živi, iznad svega, u nadi iščekivanja svijeta koji će doći.”
    Thomas Merton, Misli u samoći

  4. AvatarYH Chan says

    Mr. Sam Guzman, I like your article. However, may I know how to tackle the issue of indiscriminate violence by Islamists jihadists, eg ISIS and their crimes against humanity in the Syria and Iraq and their terrorism. Being non-Christians they would not understand what you’re preaching in your article. Thank you.
    Please also reply to chanyathee@gmail.com.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *