January 2016
Reflections of God's Goodness

Our God is a God of new beginnings! As we think about the year gone by and the newly dawned 2016, we cannot ignore the sad tragedies and the evils that stalk the world. Our hope is in the medicine of mercy, offered by the God of Love. We have an opportunity, presented by Pope Francis to the world, both as an invitation and a challenge.

At times we are called to gaze even more attentively on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s action in our lives. For this reason I have proclaimed…a special time for the Church, a time when the witness of believers might grow stronger and more effective…We want to live this Year in the light of the Lord’s words: ‘Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.’” (Luke 6:36)

Pope Francis, Bull of Indiction announcing the Jubilee of Mercy

The Pope is calling us to announce the mercy of God to all. Where do we begin? What should we do? How do we respond? It seems to me that if we are to respond, we must first reflect on and resolve to know what mercy is. How do we experience mercy? Have we received the mercy of God? Have we let God’s mercy enter into the deepest parts of ourselves?

The beginning of living mercy, it seems to me, is recognizing how God pours out His mercy on us again and again. Pope Francis has reminded us more than once that, “The God of mercy…does not tire of forgiving. We are the ones who tire in asking for forgiveness.” Isn’t it true? We somehow want to be better than that. But conversion of heart requires our daily turning away from sinful ways and toward our God of mercy.

I invite you to join together as we strive to answer this call to live a year of mercy, to meet God in a different way and to deepen our understanding and witness of mercy. Each month of this holy year, we will offer a reflection on living mercy, taking our direction from the great tradition of the Church, as pointed out by Pope Francis.

It is my burning desire that…Christian people may reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. It will be a way to reawaken our conscience, too often grown dull in the face of poverty. And let us enter more deeply into the heart of the Gospel where the poor have a special experience of God’s mercy. Jesus introduces us to these works of mercy in His preaching so that we can know whether or not we are living as His disciple.

Misericordiae Vultus, para. 15, emphasis added

May your New Year be filled with mercy, both received and given, and the joy that is sure to follow.

Happy New Year!

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Sister Mary Ann Barnhorn
Director of Development

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