“We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends on it. Mercy: the word reveals the very mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Mercy: the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us. Mercy: the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of every person who looks sincerely into the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the path of life. Mercy: the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness.”
These words of Pope Francis, as presented in the document which announced the Jubilee Year of Mercy are just a few of the many wonderful thoughts he expressed back in March. He chose today, the Feast of Immaculate Conception, as the beginning of the Jubilee and thus, he offered this prayer to the Blessed Mother;
“My thoughts now turn to the Mother of Mercy. May the sweetness of her countenance watch over us in this Holy Year, so that all of us may rediscover the joy of God’s tenderness. No one has penetrated the profound mystery of the incarnation like Mary. Her entire life was patterned after the presence of mercy made flesh. The Mother of the Crucified and Risen One has entered the sanctuary of divine mercy because she participated intimately in the mystery of His love.”
Recently, Maeve and I were in California visiting family. We went down to Hollywood for a meeting with a producer. It concerned our screenplay, and thanks be to God, it went very well. On the way back, we stopped at the Santa Barbara Mission and we prayed the outdoor stations. They were extraordinary mosaics, and the image above is a fine example.
Pope Francis writes eloquently on the subject of mercy, but in the image above, you can see what mercy is. Mary gazes on the face of her suffering son, and he in turn is consoled. We can only assume that he gains strength from her compassion.
“No one has penetrated the profound mystery of the incarnation like Mary,” the Pope writes, “Her entire life was patterned after the presence of mercy made flesh.”
This Jubilee Year can be for each of us, a very special opportunity to grow closer to our Father in heaven. Indeed, the slogan for the “Year of Mercy” says it succinctly;
Merciful Like the Father.
May each of us open our hearts to our need for the mercy of the Father, and then, we can in turn can be merciful to others. As Pope Francis again exhorts;
“How much I desire that the year to come will be steeped in mercy, so that we can go out to every man and woman, bringing the goodness and tenderness of God! May the balm of mercy reach everyone, both believers and those far away, as a sign that the Kingdom of God is already present in our midst!”