(2) Pope Francis gets straight to the point in explaining why he declared the “Year of Mercy”–it is what God most longs to give, and what we most long to receive.
God’s desire to have mercy is our salvation. This desire is in the very nature of God. If God did not lead with mercy (hesed/agapé), we would all be done for. None of us can muster up enough righteousness to save ourselves. We can only say, “Help!” Mercy is the sign of God’s willingness to do just that.
Our cry for mercy arises from the soul-wearying fatigue of trying to be our own gods. Our self-help programs may provide some relief from our pains, but they do not “spring clean” every corner of our lives. At the deepest place, we hunger for something more. Mercy is the first approach of God’s grace to begin satisfying that hunger.
Pope Francis rightly says that mercy is “the bridge that connects God and man.” This connection is the very thing which enables us to see that God wills to have mercy on everyone else, and the very thing which motivates us to be instruments of mercy in our relationships.
[Note: the numbers at the beginning of each meditation correspond to the section of the Pope’s document on which it is based]