Pope Francis in the beginning of his papal letter on mercy states that, “Jesus is the visible face of God’s mercy.” This Advent I have been reflecting and reading about what that really means. Pope Francis has designated from December 8th – November 20th 2016 the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. To me this begs the question what is mercy?
A few months ago I had a traumatic encounter with someone who publically insulted and lied about me. I was very hurt that this person would think that way about me. Yet I knew that mercy called me to love and more importantly forgive that person; not only for their sake, but for my own sake. So that I could be completely free of the hurt that it had caused within me. With the help of the Holy Spirit I am still working on forgiving that person.
My way of dealing with the pain was to pity the person. I had thought that pity was being merciful; feeling sorry for the person because they were probably operating out of some lack. Now I know that is not mercy.
Jesus being the face of mercy teaches me that love, compassion and justice goes hand in hand with being merciful. Jesus was always merciful, yet he also challenged injustice. He called people to change. Love and compassion is the highest form of mercy.
Are you being the face of God’s mercy? How?
Lystra Long, OP
New Grant, Trinidad