Monday, November 23, 2015

Are You Ready for the Year of Mercy?

When we had the year of the Rosary, (2002-2003), everyone pretty much knew what to do. Pray the rosary. Learn the mysteries.  Contemplate the role of Mary as model for our spiritual life.

When we had the year of the Eucharist (2004-2005), again, most people could figure out...go, receive the Eucharist, contemplate Christ's incarnation, go to adoration, recognize that the bread and wine are not mere bread and wine, be awake to the graces and great gift we've been given in receiving our Lord into our own selves.

In 2012, when we celebrated the Year of Faith, I made a a list.  I know, I often make lists, but it's a useful tool and so it's how I roll.

This is the year of Mercy.

What do you do for a year to contemplate God's mercy?

1) Study the scripture.  "I desire mercy, not sacrifice." Matthew 9:13.   God wants us home. That's His whole plan in a nutshell, to love us and lavish us with grace until we drop our nets and begin the walk to our father's house.  One great source I've been enjoying this year is My Catholic Daily Bible.  I have it on my kindle, and read while I work out at the gym.

2) Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet.  There's a great song version here, but I find my mind wanders when I just listen so I use the Laudate app which has an interactive rosary component.   I also have Saint Faustina's Diary.  If you get it, it's a pretty thick book so it will take you through the whole year.

3) Give alms.  Charity of the body mirrors charity of the heart.  Today's gospel talks about the widow's mite.   Giving of yourself requires a sublimation of spirit, of want, in favor of the other.  Perhaps this year, resolve to do with less, and to give more.  Build to 10% by starting this month, December, by giving 1%...then 2% in February, and let the Holy Spirit lead you on.

4) Fasting.  Part of mercy is seeking to repair the wounds of the world caused by sin.  Mercy, forgiveness and grace are the balms for those wounds.  Fasting is a form of prayer, with a mindful intent toward begging for particular graces of healing.

5) Confession  You knew this was part of the Year of Mercy. The whole reason we need a Year of Mercy is, we need mercy.  The sacrament is one of mercy.  None of us deserve Heaven.  None of us deserve God's love.  We get it gratis, without tags or cost.  But that just means, we should be all the more grateful for a King that wants to wipe out all our debt.  Run to Him.

Here's a great talk on the sacrament of Reconciliation and an equally excellent one on Forgiveness.

I won't be blogging this week much --getting ready for Thanksgiving.  Have a blessed week.

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