The Holy Year will be marked by the opening of the Holy Door in Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, and the celebration of pilgrimages, special celebrations and events in Cathedrals and Churches throughout the whole world. At the heart of the year are the words of Jesus in the Beatitudes, from the Sermon on the Mount as recorded in St Matthew’s Gospel. "Blessed are the Merciful, for they shall receive mercy." Jesus teaches us that God is mercy and compassion, and calls us to share this rich treasury of grace in our Christian lives.
We will join with many Anglicans in celebrating this Holy Year. May this ecumenical initiative bear rich fruit in drawing God’s scattered children ever closer together.
In this season of Advent, we look to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, as an example of one who was open to God, and who committed herself to doing his will. Pope Francis writes of her,
It is Mary who will prepare us for the Year of Mercy. I pray that the sweetness of [Mary's] countenance might watch over us in this Holy Year, so that all of us may rediscover the joy of God's tenderness.
Mary received God’s act of mercy that she did nothing to deserve. Rather it came as a totally free gift at the very moment when she came to be. Because Mary knows the free gift of God's mercy more than any other creature, she wants us to know it too. Through Mary, may we enter in more deeply to experience God's mercy, that we may be able to share it better with others.
May the Lord bless all our spiritual, and practical preparations for the coming great Festival of the Birth of our Saviour, the Incarnation of Christ. May we pause along the way, and know God’s mercy and Grace. He has given us his very self!
Pax et Bonum – Peace and all Good to you!
A PRAYER FOR THE YEAR OF MERCY
Lord Jesus Christ, you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father, and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him. Show us your face and we will be saved. Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money; the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things; made Peter weep after his betrayal, and assured Paradise to the repentant thief. Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman: “If you knew the gift of God!”
You are the visible face of the invisible Father, of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy: let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified. You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error: let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God.
Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing, so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord, and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor, proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed, and restore sight to the blind.
We ask this through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy, you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.