GOD'S MERCIFUL FACE HAS BEEN SEEN!!!
At the close of the year of mercy Pope Francis has written an apostolic letter "Misericordia et Miseria". It celebrates the great achievements of Mercy, in this Year of Mercy that spanned from 8th December 2015 to 20th November 2016.
The letter summarized the experience of spiritual mercy, experienced by many souls, the physical works of mercy, shown upon so many poor, distressed and abandoned people, who felt the closeness of Christ in their suffering.
The title "Misericordia et miseria" "Mercy and Misery", refers to the encounter of Christ with the woman caught in adultery, when those accusing her threw down their stones and left, only Mercy personified and Misery Personified were left, Jesus and the Adulteress. Yet Gods Love conquered the Misery and gave forgiveness and new Hope.
During this year, as a way to reach out to sinners who have had it difficult to obtain forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Pope Francis gave special permission (called faculties) to all priests to forgive the sin of abortion. This forgiveness was reserved to the Bishop, considering the seriousness of this sin, and that it is also a serious crime of taking the life of an unborn child. This has made it much easier for the faithful who have had the misfortune of committing this sin, to receive forgiveness.
As a way of continuing this face of Mercy, and culture of Mercy, the Pope has wished to extend this permission henceforth to all priests of the world. While the sin is still very grave, the desire to facilitate forgiveness has moved the Holy Father to open wider the door of forgiveness of the Church.
This directive takes effect immediately in all parts of the World.
It is noteworthy that the faculty or permission has been already conceded to all priests in many parts of the world like USA, Canada and several European countries.
We certainly welcome this gesture which continues to show the merciful face of the Church as a reflection of the Merciful face of God. Pope Francis has also directed the entire Church to experience a "pastoral conversion", to reach out more effectively to those seeking Gods forgiveness and those still far away from God, with what he calls "creativity of mercy".
This means a positive and deliberate engagement as individuals, communities and as Church, in works of Mercy, to bring Christ's presence alive in society: caring for the needy, the poor, the forgotten, the prisoners, the bereaved, the sick... Showing love in forgiveness, patience, enduring ills, correcting those in error, teaching and instructing the young and the ignorant, praying for all...
As we go forward, as the doors of mercy are closed, we are invited to open wide the doors of mercy of our hearts. Let us practice what we have had a chance to experience in this year. Let us become the reflection of the mercy of God the Father.
Let us Thank God for this wonderful grace of the Year of Mercy!!