It started as a normal Monday evening. I had been thinking that day about how God desires mercy over sacrifice. I imagined that this applied to big things, like life decisions, or at least things like deciding whether to criticize someone or hold your tongue. But one Monday night’s rather memorable dinner experience gave me a new perspective on what Jesus means in the Gospel when he says “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”
Dinner proceeded normally, and then dessert rolled around. Well, actually it was passed around, on a plate (we do TRY to be civilized). Seeing that the plate contained chocolate chip cookies, I quietly refrained because at the time I wasn’t supposed to eat anything with chocolate. I didn’t want to leave the dining room to go get another dessert, so I decided just to pass on dessert all together. In my mind it was just a miniscule sacrifice that I was happy to offer up. “No big deal,” I thought. However, God and my classmates had another idea.
One of my good friends who happened to be sitting across from me noticed that I hadn’t taken anything, and then, with a subtle, rather mischievous smile, unexpectedly found a piece of her own cookie that didn’t have any chocolate chips on it, broke it off, and set it on my plate. The others at the table either liked the idea or simply found it amusing, so one by one everyone at the table handed me pieces of cookie until there was a small pile of chocolate chip-less cookies on my plate. It took me a couple minutes to eat them because I was laughing so hard that I was almost crying. Maybe it wasn’t a big deal for them, but for me it was a providential example of God dipping his gentle hand of joy and mercy into the ocean of my heart and making a few waves just to mix things up a bit and make me smile.
“I desire mercy, not sacrifice…” I saw that night that God’s will isn’t always the hardest path. He has a sense of humor just like us. Christ desires that we make sacrifices, of course…But other times, he just wants us to laugh at ourselves, and with others, and enjoy the little things in life, those priceless gifts that we so often miss or take for granted. We can’t forget to thank him for those moments of simple joy. So as I headed to bed that night, I fell asleep thanking God for showing me his mercy through wonderful sisters and delicious chocolate chip-less cookies.