Mercy is love that goes beyond justice. I just thought of Jesus, did you? Good. I am specifically referring to the love God has for each one of us. It’s the love and forgiveness we are proclaiming in this Holy Year of Mercy, which emphasizes the boundless love and mercy of Christ for those who turn to Him with trust and in repentance for the ways we have strayed and have failed to respond in love to God and our neighbors.
While we are in an official year set apart by the Church designated as a time of forgiveness, renewal and celebration, the Church has always felt an urgency to proclaim God’s mercy. As the foundation of the Church’s life, she not only has a desire to show mercy, she is the actual trusted dispenser of Jesus’ Mercy. She’s the most authentic when she’s doing just that: professing mercy and bringing people to the sources of mercy.(Misericrodiae Vultus)
We know all too well that there is an ever increasing urgency to bring to every person the “Gospel of Mercy” and to join beloved St. Faustina Kowalska, St. John Paul II, St. Maximilian Kolbe, Pope Francis and especially the Mother of God, under the title of the “Mother of Mercy,” in being missionaries and messengers of mercy. The never-ending reality is that culture doesn’t proclaim or breathe mercy. It breathes false judgement and shame. Even while, as Pope Francis reminds us, the Father’s omnipotent action of mercy is constantly in our lives. It’s greater than sin and we can’t place any limits on it. Everything Jesus did on earth spoke of mercy. But, this doesn’t mean Mercy ended 2,000 years ago. God’s mercy doesn’t end, even for our deepest and darkest sins. Thankfully, we know as sons and daughters, we will be under the mercy of the Father for all eternity. Thus, we must proclaim this truth of mercy loudly. There is hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness!(Misericrodiae Vultus)
Since the Church has a responsibility to proclaim mercy, it makes sense that the U.S. Bishops have joined Pope Francis in the joyful proclamation of the merciful love of Jesus, which encourages everyone to approach Him, even on the hard stuff. The stuff that will need a lot of work, a lot of attention and guidance from Jesus and others, even Accountability Software and Filtering. I’m talking about the Pastoral Response on Pornography titled “Create in Me a Clean Heart” that the U.S. Bishops released this past November. The Bishops have invited us to hand over our own struggles and addictions with pornography, our spouses, friends and children to our Lord’s mercy. This can involve seeking mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and assistance through spiritual direction and counseling. The Pastors of the Church remind us that freedom from pornography is a daily choice. It’s also a daily choice to trust in Jesus’ mercy. To trust in his mercy for strength and an increase in trust that no sin is too great to be forgiven by God’s unfathomable mercy. There isn’t a sin that can’t be overcome!