REDISCOVERING THE RICHNESS OF MERCY
The commencement of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy to which Pope Francis calls us is a special opportunity for Sisters and people of Mercy to ‘rediscover the richness’ of the corporal and spiritual works of Mercy, which are at the heart of the charism given to us by our founder, Catherine McAuley.
One of the many gifts which Catherine brought to the world, was her ability to see and respond to the changing needs of her time. The continuing challenge for all of us who are impelled by the charism of Mercy, is to do the same. In meeting this challenge, people of Mercy throughout the world will be invited to participate in the Mercy International Reflection Process (MIRP) as a single unifying activity for the Extraordinary Jubilee year. Through this process you will be asked to help shape our collective thinking and response on the two issues which are the most important facing our world today – the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.
The MIRP will be more than a time of reflection. The dream is that it will bring forward practical and bold initiatives which the international Mercy world can embody and carry forward. It is also hoped the process will open up the doors of possibility for its participants to immediately enact change in their own lives and identify new areas of need and response.
Sadly the Year of Mercy comes at a time when the world is yet again experiencing the pain and horror of war. While the battlefields may be different to those of other times, the impact is still devastatingly the same. Our world is beset by war in many forms whether it be terrorism, violence, fear of difference, exclusion of people seeking asylum, war with our environment and the list could go on.
A valuable perspective all of us can bring to the Year of Mercy, is the link between forgiveness and Mercy. Making this link is important, for without forgiveness there is the potential that any attempt to live out the spiritual and corporal works of Mercy will be undermined. It is often easier to go and do something nice for someone else, rather than forgive those who have ‘trespassed against us’. In pursuing forgiveness, we can be freed from the shackles of torment which is brought about by being stuck in an unforgiving state. The challenge for all of us, is that if Jesus could forgive those whom put him to death on the cross, then we too as people of Mercy should be able to forgive.
In this Year of Mercy we pray that we may individually and collectively be a merciful presence hearing both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. As we embody Mercy in everything we say and do, may we be people of forgiveness and love. May we also have a true encounter with the Mercy of God which is at the very heart of what this year is all about.
We commence the Year of Mercy during this season of advent. On behalf of the Institute Leadership Team, we wish everyone a very happy Christmas and may it be filled with the peace, love and joy of God which was gifted to the world through the birth of Jesus.
Sr Berneice Loch rsm
Image: The Flight into Egypt – Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps (1803-1860)
Brooklyn Museum: [No restrictions or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons