(3) God moves us to pay concentrated and prolonged attention to particular things. We cannot take in all the wonders of God at once. The Spirit has moved in the heart of Pope Francis to call us to spend this year exploring the theme of mercy.
Pope Francis recognizes that even a singular gaze yields different visions. He calls the entire Church and indeed the whole world, to consider mercy. But it is an invitation combined with the freedom for people and groups to see mercy from their respective vantage points. In his opening the Holy Door this past December 8th, he called us to open our doors (literally and figuratively) to mercy.
This opening will have profound effects upon us, but it will not be a one-size-fits-all experience. From countries and cultures, ages and stages, races and classes, conditions and orientations, God’s mercy will come to us in different ways, and flow through us in varying ways.
The common thread, as the Pope points out, will be our desire to be more-effective signs of God’s actions–our desire to grow stronger in our faith and in our sharing of it. The increase of mercy will be confirmed by the increase of love.
In these opening weeks of the Year of Mercy, let us pray for grace to join with everyone else to seek to receive and to offer God’s mercy. In that commonality let us look for the unique ways God will reveal mercy to us, and then call us to live it out. Let us pray for grace to see mercy in our particular context, so we can offer it realistically and concretely.
[Note: the numbers at the beginning of each meditation correspond to the section of the Pope’s document on which it is based]