"For the mercy we receive from the Father is not given solely for our benefit, but for the good of all, by transforming us into instruments, missionaries of mercy. By being such missionaries, we come to experience more deeply the gift of mercy in our own lives. May we take seriously our call to be Christians, to live as believers, so that the Gospel may touch the hearts of all people and open them to the gift of God’s love."
(Pope Francis, Jubilee Audience, January 30, 2016)From the beginning of time, after the Fall of Man when God promised a Redeemer, His message has been one of mercy. Christ has pleaded with us throughout history to know Him as the God of Mercy. As one matures, he often reflects on the merciful hand of God throughout his life. It was not enough that Christ died once to open the gates of heaven, but He chooses to constantly intervene in our lives, even when we do not know to ask for it, to save us from a certain evil seeking to ensnare us.
Just as Christ desired the first apostles to proclaim the Good News to the ends of the earth, He wants us to know that this message of merciful love is at the foundation of the Gospel and is meant to be preached far and wide. We are not meant to keep this treasure for ourselves, but to share it with others by the way we live our daily life. What better way to live the message of mercy than in the cenacle of family? A place that abounds with opportunities for forgiveness, and encouragement. This coming time of Lent, and the Jubilee Year of Mercy should prompt one for further contemplation on the great gift of mercy, and how he is sharing it with those closest to him.
The daily grind easily breeds frustration which in turn fosters impatience and resentment. But it need not be so. One must be pray for a merciful heart and a joyful spirit. When we learn to deny ourselves the comfort of sensual desires in food, drink, audio/visual, etc., we discipline our will to say no to other immediate impulses like anger, cynicism, defensiveness, etc. It is in this way, that we train our will to grow in the virtues most necessary for living a holy life, a selfless life that is more concerned for the needs of others than that of ourselves. Not only that, but we learn to let go of our own wounds and offenses in order to have peace in our marriages and in our homes. Did not Christ bear much more in order to reconcile us to the Father?
Pray to be a "missionary of mercy" in the family this Lent and this year.