RSCJ Uganda/Kenya Province | Profiles

Living the Year of Mercy

The Holy Door of God’s Mercy

The following is taken from the Christmas 2015/New Year 2016 letter of Kathleen Conan RSCJ Superior General, Society of the Sacred Heart, to the Religious of the Sacred Heart

With the whole Church we are entering into the Jubilee Year of Mercy. During this year, Pope Francis invites us to enter the holy door of God’s mercy and to journey in pilgrimage towards receiving and living more deeply God’s mercy. Let us enter with desire and joy the holy door of God’s heart. God is inviting us anew, "Come to me (Mt 11: 28-29), come into my heart where mercy dwells

In this Holy Year, Sophie1 would be reminding us, as does Francis, "Jesus is the face of the Father’s mercy … Jesus of Nazareth by his words, his actions, and his entire person reveals the mercy of God." (Misericordiae Vultus, 1) She would ask us to enter with trust, desire and expectation the holy door of Jesus’ heart, confident that God wants to share with us anew God’s merciful love.

Let us enter the holy door of our own hearts, confident that the Spirit is present within us, opening, healing, giving life, breathing within us, that we may know and live the mercy of God. Perhaps this is a moment in which the Spirit wants to transform further some part of me, of us. Perhaps it is a time to receive forgiveness and welcome God’s merciful love, renewing us in the confidence that God calls us as we are to live the love of God’s heart. Perhaps this is a time when I am invited to incarnate in a particular way the mercy of God. Perhaps…

Let us journey in pilgrimage to the place where God’s heart dwells in my heart. Let us take time to reflect on the journey we have walked in this past year, or throughout our life, noticing how and where I have become more able to receive and to live God’s mercy in relation to my own life story. In my relationships with others, may I ask to notice what enables me to live the openness, tenderness and forgiveness of God’s compassion; and what blocks me at times. May I become aware of the direction in which God invites me to journey in the coming year in relation to myself and others.

Let us join with others who are on pilgrimage at this time, seeking love and life in today’s world. Let us journey with those who are fleeing violence, terror, abuse; those suffering the destruction of the fabric of society or of the environment; those trying to reach a new land where they can nurture life and hope for themselves and their children; those seeking to rebuild their lives in various ways. Let us journey with others who are searching to create new possibilities of mercy and communion in our world. Let us learn from and with one another how to respond with love in the face of fear, violence and pain; how to envision and build a global society where everyone has access to resources; how to live in new ways that provide and sustain life for everyone. Let us deepen and expand our compassion that we may grow in living Sophie’s vision of relational transformation in love of persons, of our global community, of our universe. (cf. JPIC Communication No.3, October 2015).

Journeying in pilgrimage involves walking, taking steps. What is the next step I or we are being called to take in this pilgrimage of mercy– in my own life and in my living of Jesus’ love? In the journey of humanity towards God’s dream for the world?

1.St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart.