Misericordiae Vultus 13: Mercy as a Lifestyle

head of ChristThis section strikes me as something of a pivot in the document. We’ve been primed with an introduction, some background in Scripture, and a certain continuity with Pope John Paul II. If the jubilee has a subtitle or a “theme,” it would be “Merciful like the Father.”

13. We want to live this Jubilee Year in light of the Lord’s words: Merciful like the Father. The Evangelist reminds us of the teaching of Jesus who says, “Be merciful just as your Father is merciful” (Lk 6:36). It is a program of life as demanding as it is rich with joy and peace. Jesus’s command is directed to anyone willing to listen to his voice (cf. Lk 6:27). In order to be capable of mercy, therefore, we must first of all dispose ourselves to listen to the Word of God. This means rediscovering the value of silence in order to meditate on the Word that comes to us. In this way, it will be possible to contemplate God’s mercy and adopt it as our lifestyle.

Mercy is more easily preached than it is lived. Pope Francis minces no words: mercy makes demands of us. It requires the believer to shush and listen and reflect. The Holy Father clearly states mercy is not a concept to be absorbed intellectually. It is meant to be a lifestyle. For those unaccustomed to mercy, it will indeed be a challenge.

The highlighted text is © copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana. You can find the document in its entirety on the Vatican website here.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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