Mercy 101


What is "mercy"? Mercy is the love that sympathizes with the frailty and weakness of others. The love that is directed at those who can't take it anymore and fall. A love that reaches out, without ever looking down at the person, but gazing up at them instead.

Who is merciful? God is. And only God is entirely so. All Scripture, the Old and New Testaments, tells us how God gives his heart to our misery. Who is the "Good Samaritan" if not the Lord himself who brings himself close to us, heals us, shows and gives us everything we need to live. "Mercy will always be greater than any sin, and no one can place limits on the love of God who is ever ready to forgive" (The Face of Mercy, No. 3).

And who can become merciful? You can. Every one of us can. When we taste the mercy that God has for us, our hearts are deeply moved, and we can no longer pass by a brother or sister who is suffering without "exercising mercy." We no longer fear loving someone, caring for them, or losing our life so they may live!

In this Year of Mercy, will you open your heart?

"In this Jubilee Year, let us allow God to surprise us. He never tires of casting open the doors of his heart and of repeating that he loves us and wants to share his love with us" (The Face of Mercy, No. 25).


Pilgrimage 101

One does not become merciful instantaneously. It's a journey. One has to travel, allow oneself to move around. We must leave a culture of well-being and performance in exchange for one of mercy. It requires changing the way we are in the world. What is the secret of this change? Welcoming the Father's love. Allowing ourselves to be touched by the mercy of God, "who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy" (Ps 103:3-4).

This year, we will be pilgrims, and called to begin our journey towards entering the joy of the Beatitudes: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy" (Mt 5:7). "Doors of mercy" will be made available to us at 7 basilicas and sanctuaries on our diocesan territory to help us truly experience this pilgrimage that engages our lives.

Let us leave our homes, make the trip, cross a threshold, and dive into divine mercy through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We will then learn how life changing and invaluable the Father's love and indulgence are.

The door to God's heart is open for you... and you will open the door to your heart to the needy that the Lord will send your way.

May pilgrimage be an impetus to conversion: by crossing the threshold of the Holy Door, we will find the strength to embrace God's mercy and dedicate ourselves to being merciful with others as the Father has been with us (The Face of Mercy, No. 14).


Indulgence 101

"Merciful like the Father, therefore, is the "motto" of this Holy Year. In mercy, we find proof of how God loves us. He gives his entire self, always, freely, asking nothing in return" (Le visage de la miséricorde, No. 14). Divine mercy is overflowing. By his passion and resurrection, Jesus took all the horror of our sins upon himself, giving our souls a new virginity.

But what about the consequences of our sins? Let us listen to Pope Francis: "In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, God forgives our sins, which he truly blots out; and yet sin leaves a negative effect on the way we think and act. But the mercy of God is stronger even than this. It becomes indulgence on the part of the Father who (...) reaches the pardoned sinner and frees him from every residue left by the consequences of sin." And what is the fruit of the Father's indulgence? It will lead us "to act with charity, to grow in love rather than to fall back into sin" (The Face of Mercy, No. 22).

The indulgence of the Father is immeasurable, and cannot be bought. It is the free gift of his love that we receive through the Church. What a gift! A magnificent gift of grace that we can certainly ask for ourselves, but, more importantly, for others, living or dead.

"Hence, to live the indulgence of the Holy Year means to approach the Father's mercy with the certainty that his forgiveness extends to the entire life of the believer" (The Face of Mercy, No. 22).


Works of Mercy 101

What is the most rewarding fruit of divine mercy in our lives, if it isn't a converted life? This year will be one of grace, for it will be one of veritable conversion that will translate into "works." We are not saved by the works, but by God's love; however, we cannot be saved without the works.

Take a look at your daily life. What place do you attribute to "these corporal works of mercy: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead"?

And what place do you give to "the spiritual works of mercy: to counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish sinners, comfort the afflicted, forgive offences, bear patiently those who do us ill, and pray for the living and the dead" (The Face of Mercy, No. 15)?

If these works of mercy are already abundant in your daily life... Keep it up! If they are rare, remember: "... the poor have a special experience of God's mercy." ... They are waiting for you!

"Let us open our eyes and see the misery of the world, the wounds of our brothers and sisters who are denied their dignity, and let us recognize that we are compelled to heed their cry for help! May we reach out to them and support them so they can feel the warmth of our presence, our friendship, and our fraternity! May their cry become our own, and together may we break down the barriers of indifference that too often reign supreme and mask our hypocrisy and egoism" (The Face of Mercy, No. 15)!


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