The Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya and South Sudan His Excellency Charles Balvo has challenged the clergy to deepen their own understanding of the theme of mercy, which is so much needed in the world that has been afflicted by so many situations of violence and disregard for the value and dignity of human life.
Addressing participants during the Kenya Theological Forum at the Little Daughters of St. Joseph’s Centre, Most Rev. Balvo said that, mercy has an all embracing character that allows everyone to appreciate what it means to be merciful, to feel compassion for those who suffer, sympathy for those in need, deep felt indignation in the face of clear injustice and a desire to respond with loving respect by trying to set things right.
“Reflection on this natural feeling of mercy allows people to see how God can be understood in terms of this defining attribute by which Jesus wished to reveal him. For Pope Francis, God’s name is mercy,” he said
Reiterating Pope Francis’ words, he said mercy is like the tender love of a mother who, touched by the frailty of her new born baby, takes the child into her arms and provides everything the baby needs to live and grow adding that, mercy is the steadfast faithfulness of a father who constantly supports, forgives and encourages his children to grow. He also mentioned that, Mercy is the fruit of a covenant, which God constantly calls the people to keep in mind, an utterly free act of kindness and goodness rising up from the depths of one’s being and finding outward expression in charity.
With regard to the spiritual life, Archbishop Balvo said mercy helps believers to see that they never cease to be in need of renewed conversion, deeper contemplation and greater love adding that, nothing unites people to God more than an act of mercy, for it is by mercy that God forgives sins and gives the grace necessary to carry out acts of mercy in his name. “Nothing strengthens faith more than being cleansed of sin,” he said.
Speaking at the same time during a workshop organized as an expression of the desire to study and reflect on the Apostolic Letter, Misericordia et misera, which Pope Francis published on 20 November 2016, at the end of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, The Kenya Conference of the Catholic Bishops (KCCB) Deputy General Secretary, Very Rev. Fr. Lucas Ongesa said that, the shift towards the fundamentals of the Catholic life which has been taken up by Pope Francis with his heart for the poor and his zeal for mission, sets the Church into renewal paths.
Fr. Ongesa said that, mercy speaks of the nature of God, the creation of the world and the mission of the redeemer affirming that, the disciple who encounter mercy experience conversion and is sent in mission. He added that, it is absolutely at the heart of the Catholic faith, both doctrine and practice which is the Church’s priority at the beginning of the third millennium.
He said, there is no doubt that the concept of mercy, in all its aspects, is one of the most important themes of the Petrine ministry as exercised by Pope Francis adding that wherever the Church is present, the mercy of the Father must be evident.” And so, whenever people approach the Church and however they do so – in a parish, school, or diocesan setting; at a church institution; or even simply to an individual or small group of her members – they will find Christ’s love and care, and “an oasis of mercy.”
During the five day workshop, there were various presentations: mercy as a living reality of life; mercy in the Sacred Scriptures; the theological and moral implications of mercy; mercy in the sacrament of penance; mercy in the family; mercy in an African context; and others.
Courtesy of Rose Achieng, Waumini Communications