Pope Francis yesterday called on all Christians to reject the trappings of “power or glory,” and to embrace a life that’s “free, faithful, poor in means but rich in love.” Such a lifestyle, the pontiff suggested, would be the real legacy of his Year of Mercy.
From his earlier talks and writings on mercy:
Lord Jesus, mercy is the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us. Mercy, as regards external works, is the greatest of all virtues. It is proper to God to have mercy. Through mercy God’s omnipotence is manifested to the greatest degree. The very salvation that God offers us is itself the work of his mercy.
God’s mercy is great, forgiving us by caressing us. The steadfast love of God never ceases; his mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning.
Divine Savior, your invitation to mercy is intended to draw us into a deeper imitation of God our Father: “Be merciful, as your Father is merciful” (cf. Lk 6:36). Your gaze, O Jesus makes us feel an interior wonder, and makes us hear your beckon: Follow me.
Mercy is the bridge that connects God and the human being , opening our hearts to a hope of being loved forever, despite our sinfulness. Mercy brings us peace!
To become merciful, we mist first acknowledge that we have done many things wrong: we are sinners! I need to know how to say: Lord, I am ashamed of what I have done in life. With this attitude of repentance I will be more capable of being merciful, because I will feel God’s mercy upon me.
To become merciful, I need an openness to expanding my heart. Shame and repentance expand a small , selfish heart, since they give grace for God to forgive us. A big heart does not get entangled in other people’s lives. It does not condemn, but forgives and forgets.
The way of mercy is the way of life. A Christian must necessarily be merciful , because this is the center of the Gospel. Mercy overcomes every wall, every barrier, and leads us always to seek the face of the other – of the person. And it is mercy that changes one’s heart and one’s life – that can regenerate a person and allow that person to integrate into society in a new way.
True mercy takes the person into one’s care, listens to the other attentively, approaches the situation with respect and truth, and accompanies that person on the journey of reconciliation. Love can never be just an abstraction. Mercy means first treating others wounds. And mercy means neither generosity nor rigidity. Whenever we have an opportunity to perform a work of mercy, we should rejoice as if a fountain has been let loose so that a fire might be extinguished.
And you, our Lady, through your grace, your intercession, and your example, deliver us from all evil and untie the knots that prevent us from being united with God, so that we, free from sin and error, may find him in all things, may have our hearts placed in him, and may serve him always in our brothers and sisters.
(source Magnificat Year of Mercy Companion)