'God's name is mercy,' Pope says in meditations for Jubilee for Priests
June 02, 2016
Pope Francis preached a series of three meditations for priests as a Jubilee for Priests reached its high point on June 2.
"Nothing unites us to God more than an act of mercy," the Pope said. "Mercy makes us pass form the recognition that we have received mercy to a desire to show mercy to others.'
Mercy, the Pontiff explained, is "an utterly free act of kindness and goodness, arising frmo the depths of our beign and finding outward expression in charity." Because everyone can understand the impulse to mercy, he said, "we begin to see how God Himself can be understood in terms of this defining attribute by which Jesus wished to reveal Him to us."
The 3-day Jubilee for Priests, intended as a retreat for participants, was held in three of Rome's major basilicas: St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major, and St. Paul Outside-the-Walls. Pope Francis offered one meditation in the morning, one at noon, and one in the afternoon-- all accessible through video links at the three basilicas.
While reflecting at length on the importance of offering mercy to others, the Pope also explored in depth the need for each person to seek God's mercy. "Our sin is usually like a sieve, or a leaky bucket, from which grace quickly drains," he said. To repair the damage we must constantly call upon God's mercy.
Unfortunately, the Holy Father said, we are continually tempted to ignore the offer of God's mercy:
We can “do without” the Lord’s mercy for a long time. In other words, we can go through life without thinking about it consciously or explicitly asking for it. Then one day we realise that “all is mercy” and we weep bitterly for not having known it earlier, when we needed it most!
This feeling is a kind of moral misery. It is the entirely personal realisation that at a certain point in my life I decided to go it alone: I made my choice and I chose badly. Such are the depths we have to reach in order to feel sorrow for our sins and true repentance. Otherwise, we lack the freedom to see that sin affects our entire life. We do not recognise our misery, and thus we miss out on mercy, which only acts on that condition.
Before begining his first meditation the Pope encouraged the priests to pray for each other, promising that he would also pray for them during the retreat.
- The Pope preaches in the Jubilee for Priests: evangelical simplicity that understands and works in the name of mercy (Vatican press office)
- Mercy takes us from estrangement to celebration (Vatican press office)
- The vessel of Mercy is our sin (Vatican press office)
- St Paul's Outside the Walls: Pope's third meditation (Vatican Radio)