Since our Holy Father, Pope Francis, announced an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, I have waited with excited anticipation for its commencement. While I have jokingly quipped that this celebration marks the commemoration of my nameday for an entire year, in reality the anxious waiting has been due to the expectation of the graces the Lord desires to bestow on us, his beloved.
Throughout this year we are invited by our Holy Mother Church to receive mercy and forgiveness from the Lord, who is Divine Mercy himself. Furthermore, since we are adopted sons and daughters of God, we are asked to consider on how we ourselves bestow this same mercy to others. But, I would like to propose a further reflection on this greatest attribute of God.
In his proclamation on the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis defined mercy as “the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to a hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness.” Divine Mercy reveals itself when God loves us. This, I suggest, is the core of the Divine Mercy message. Therefore, this year is an opportunity for us to enter into the Heart of Divine Mercy: knowing we are loved.
What does this Heart of Love reveal to us if we are open to receive it? Our brokenness. Our wounds (from our own sins or that of others). Our need for healing. Our poverty in prayer. Our desire for true love. Our want for true happiness. Most of all, this Heart shows us the love of the Father, who is waiting to embrace us and say, “You are my beloved.”
As we enter through the Holy Doors of Mercy throughout the world, may it symbolize for us a passage to the Heart of Mercy, a running to the arms of the Father. Here at St. Pius X Catholic Church (Rock Island, IL), we are blessed to be a designated place of such a pilgrimage. Flanked by two of my favorite saints, Pope Saint John Paul II and Saint Faustina, I hope that I may be reminded, among many other things, why I ultimately took my name: because I am loved. I am chosen. I am forgiven. I am worthy of healing and mercy.
- Sister M. Clementia, FSGM