Jubilee! Be Merciful!
Pope Francis has declared an extraordinary Jubilee! A Holy Year of Mercy is to be observed from the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 2015 until the Solemnity of Christ the King, November 20, 2016. A jubilee year has roots in Jewish tradition. Held every fifty years, the jubilee year was meant to right injustices, and bring comfort and pardon to the oppressed. The first Christian Jubilee was celebrated in 1300, and the frequency of subsequent jubilee years varied until a Papal Bull by Pope Paul II in 1470 decreed they be held every twenty five years. The most recent ordinary jubilee was celebrated by Pope John Paul II in 2000. An extraordinary Jubilee can be called for whenever the pope sees a special need. It is said that this event called by Pope Francis is meant for "’spiritual renewal’ and…to deeply mark the papacy as one of mercy and welcoming.” http://www.ansa.it/english/news/vatican/2015/03/18/vatican-reacts-to-jubilee-row_58a1b04b-791b-4f8d-9500-ac31a972165c.html A Papal Bull is expected to be released on April 12, outlining this surprising call for an extraordinary Jubilee.
Our Father is all merciful. He gives us innumerable gifts showing His mercy and compassion. But, we are called to show mercy as well. “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36) In announcing the upcoming Holy Year of Mercy, Pope Francis expressed his hope that the whole Church would rediscover the mercy of God and make it fruitful by giving mercy to all. We are called upon to show mercy. In fact, this is part of the practice of Divine Mercy as described by St. Faustina through her Diary of Divine Mercy in My Soul. Yes, there are great promises of mercy given to us, but we must grow in mercy as well, and some of those promises are predicated upon our own merciful acts.
This month we celebrate the great feast of Divine Mercy on April 12, the Sunday following Easter. Our Lord gave us, through His “secretary,” Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, several distinct means of practicing a life of mercy, including a Novena of Divine Mercy, which can be said at any time, but is especially recommended beginning on Good Friday and ending on the Divine Mercy Feast! http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/novena.php Jesus told St. Faustina, "By this Novena, [of Chaplets] I will grant every possible grace to souls." (Diary, 796) The Divine Mercy Chaplet is quite easy to remember; it is recommended to be prayed at “the hour of mercy,” which is at 3 o’clock. Some who waken nightly at 3 a.m. take that time to offer a Chaplet for souls in danger. A fruitful use of insomnia!
Jesus Himself has spelled out the ways we might practice mercy towards our brothers and sisters, mercy which will be returned by Him: “I am giving you three ways of exercising mercy toward your neighbor: the first — by deed, the second — by word, the third — by prayer. In these three degrees is contained the fullness of mercy, and it is an unquestionable proof of love for Me. By this means a soul glorifies and pays reverence to My mercy." (Diary, 742) Everyone can find ways to practice corporal or spiritual acts of mercy, and accept the promise of an extension of mercy at our judgment. http://thedivinemercy.org/message/acts/
April 1, 2015