And so it begins! Today, on this feast of the Immaculate Conception, the Jubilee Year of Mercy begins. Anything you need to know about this much-anticipated year can be found at GetFed, a service of the Catholic Company. Today is just the start of a year of prayer, devotion, special events, and of course, mercy.
So fitting that it begins on this feast of the Immaculate Conception, the stainless conception of Our Lady and Our Mother, an event that began the journey toward the birth, death, and resurrection of Our Lord, the one who offers this true and authentic mercy the Church wants us to encounter. God had a plan then and God has a plan now. The mercy that was manifested through these series of events has never subsided or faded away. However, our world has lost sight of the power of such compassion and love. So a Jubilee Year places front and center the reality of God’s love for His sons and daughters.
There will be much written about and done that centers around the Church, you and I, reaching out to those in need of mercy. Parishes will host events designed to offer God’s healing to those most in pain. Reflections will be written urging all of us to be instruments of mercy in a fallen world.
But make no mistake, there is nothing selfish or egocentric about saying, “This Year of Mercy is for me!” As good stewards we can sometimes be so focused on others that we can neglect ourselves. ALL are in need of God’s mercy! Take the time to receive and bask in the generous mercy of God. Life is difficult at times for all living souls. We have all failed to live up to God’s and our own expectations. Without of mercy, we would be lost to ourselves.
Mercy is not justice. Justice provides us with what we deserve and is rightfully ours. But mercy is freely given and does not hold our transgressions against us. When we receive justice, we simply find ourselves back at square one where we began, for what we had lost is now restored to us. But when we receive mercy, we move past square one to a better place, one we would never be able to visit on our own. When we find ourselves there, we feel a compassion beyond what humans can normally feel. And that compassion, that sweet glow of mercy, is available to each and every one of us: even YOU!