Yesterday we discussed the need for continual conversion. It is then that others notice the quality of mercy in the people of the Church. It is how God treats us in weakness, rather than in our strength and splendor, that mercy is more evident.
The contemporary Church is profoundly conscious that only on the basis of the mercy of God will she be able to carry out the tasks that derive from the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, and, in the first place, the ecumenical task which aims at uniting all those who confess Christ. As she makes many efforts in this direction, the Church confesses with humility that only that love which is more powerful than the weakness of human divisions can definitively bring about that unity which Christ implored from the Father and which the Spirit never ceases to beseech for us “with sighs too deep for words.”(Rom. 8:26)
St John Paul cites ecumenism as first among the post-conciliar tasks. An interesting insertion, don’t you think? I don’t disagree with its importance, but it hadn’t occurred to me in the context of mercy.
Dives in Misericordia, the second encyclical of Pope John Paul II, is available online here, and is copyright © 1980 – Libreria Editrice Vaticana