Year of Mercy Reflections - Fr Peter Newsam
Pope Francis has summoned the Church to celebrate together an extraordinary Jubilee Year, the ‘Jubilee of Mercy’, beginning on December 8th. I thought that it might be helpful for us to reflect together this Advent on the meaning and place of mercy in our lives, and that is the purpose of the daily reflections that follow. They fall into two parts: for the days before December 8th, there are some thoughts on mercy in general (mostly my own, but with a couple of passages borrowed from others); for the days following December 8th there are some reflections on the works of mercy. Pope Francis has said: ‘It is my burning desire that, during this Jubilee, the Christian people may reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy’ (Misericordiae Vultus 15). If that is the Holy Father’s burning desire, we had better respond!
I hope you will not find that I have laboured the point in these two dozen or more reflections on mercy. As we begin a whole year dedicated to mercy I think it might be helpful to imagine mercy as a beautiful and complex treasure, a work of art that we pick up each day, twisting and turning it in our fingers to look at it again and again, from every different angle and in every different light. It will look different in the bright light of summer from how it looks in the dull light of these winter days, and that is why the Holy Father has given us a whole year to consider it. Mercy is a great mystery, and a year will not be long enough!
“You can’t conceive, my child, nor can I or anyone the appalling… strangeness of the mercy of God”
Graham Greene, Brighton Rock