Continuing today with a look back on the Jubilee of Mercy in Pope Francis’s apostolic letter. Follow this link for the full document, Misericordia et Misera.
4. We have celebrated an intense Jubilee Year in which we have received the grace of mercy in abundance. Like a gusting but wholesome wind, the Lord’s goodness and mercy have swept through the entire world. Because each of us has experienced at length this loving gaze of God, we cannot remain unaffected, for it changes our lives.
Not all embraced the Jubilee. One criticism I read suggested we’ve had too many years. A year for St Paul, a year for families, a year for priests, a year for religious, etc.. A jubilee, by definition, is something different. It doesn’t happen every year. It does occur for Catholics more often than twice a century. I doubt we will see another soon, not before 2025 or 2050 at least.
Mercy, also, is a different phenomenon in the Church. It was a favored virtue by Pope John Paul II. One could go back further to the roots of the devotion of Divine Mercy with St Faustina. I’d say mercy has been getting a significant build-up in the spiritual life of the Church. Naysayers may feel they have a point to make. On the other hand, they might be lagging behind.
Mercy is deeply rooted in the Scriptures, especially the Psalms and the Prophets:
We feel the need above all to thank the Lord and to tell him: “Lord, you have been favorable to your land… You have forgiven the iniquity of your people” (Ps 85:1-2). So it is. God has subdued our iniquities and cast all our sins into the depths of the sea (cf. Mic 7:19). He no longer remembers them, since he has cast them behind his back (cf. Is 38:17). As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us (cf. Ps 103:12).
Mercy is also part of the “Great Commission” at the end of John’s Gospel:
In this Holy Year, the Church listened attentively and experienced intensely the presence and closeness of the Father, who with the Holy Spirit has enabled her to see with greater clarity the gift and mandate of Jesus Christ regarding forgiveness. It has truly been like a new visitation of the Lord among us. We have felt his life-giving breath poured out upon the Church and, once again, his words have pointed out our mission: “Receive the Holy Spirit: if you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (Jn 20:22-23).
Any experiences from your prayer life or your faith community to share?