Now and then, each of us are stopped in our paths by beauty. Whenever I find myself in the full bloom of summer, I am stopped more often by such moments; the warm breeze, the sharp and crisp blaze of the sun, the dazzling glimmer of night lights in a lake, the gentle glow of the moon, the faces and stories of all those who I pass by.
These moments bring me back to a particular moment when I was sitting on a beach, gazing upon the Atlantic ocean from the east coast of Florida a few years ago.
There is a famous story or vision where St. Augustine is shown a child digging a hole in the sand and running to the ocean, filling a bucket with water and dumping it into the little hole he dug. An angel then said to St. Augustine that the child will sooner empty the ocean of water than exhaust the limitless mercy of God. I can’t think of a greater analogy to God’s mercy than the ocean. The limitless uncontainable pushing of great magnitudes of waters, its incalculable movements and currents, deeply mysterious, wide, powerful, and unfathomable. As I watched and listened to the rolling and collapsing of each wave, I felt I could hear and see, the waves reminding me of God’s great mercy in his Son. And that his mercy is for me, for all of us.
A key theme of Pope Francis’s ministry is mercy, and in March of this year, Pope Francis announced that as of December 8th, 2015 will be a Jubilee Year of Mercy
. Let's remind ourselves in moments of joy, moments of sadness, in the moments of frustration and loss, that God is close, peacefully looking upon us, and guiding us. And let us remember to thank him for his great mercy, and to give to others what he has given so generously given to us.
Below is the text of Pope Francis' prayer:
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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.