Opening of the Door of Mercy at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral


Become People of Mercy

Misery and the Heart

Did you ever think that God has rejected you, or that you had strayed too far to ever be able to find Him again, or that He was neither interested in you nor in humanity; that He was far removed from us?

Beyond our own life experience and our search for meaning, God himself seeks us and makes it possible for us to know and to encounter Him through Jesus Christ. The Son of God made man, crucified and risen, is the revelation and the expression of Divine Mercy. Pope Francis, thus, invites us to contemplate the Father's Mercy through the face of Jesus Christ.

The Latin word for Misericordia comprises two words, misery and heart: To show mercy is to take another's misery and carry it in one's own heart. God, who is rich in Mercy, wishes to take our misery and carry it in his heart. It is his desire to take our sins, our sufferings and our deadness, and carry them in his heart. He wants to carry us in his heart with all our moral failings, physical hardship and tribulations.

God Always Remains Near

In order to carry us in his heart, the Father sent his Son into the world so as to be closer to us. Jesus Christ is God with us, God near us. Jesus then says that He did not come for those who are well but for those who are sick. I could have forgotten about God for many years, yet He remains near. Regardless of my feelings of guilt, He remains near. Whatever wound I might have, He remains near. Whatever sadness I may feel, He remains near. However lonely I may be, He remains near. Regardless of my family circumstances, He remains near. Whatever tensions may be present in society and throughout the world, He remains near.

God's Mercy is faithful, patient, compassionate and forgiving. He remains faithful to his love for us. He does not let our infidelity prevent Him from loving us. Although we turn away from Him, He keeps a watchful eye on us and waits for us patiently. When we are stricken with misfortune, suffering and pain, He suffers with us, carrying us on his shoulders and in his heart. When we knowingly and willingly do harm, it brings Him great joy to forgive us, for He will always see us as his beloved children.

God's Mercy has the power to touch our hearts and to transform our lives. He not only renews our spirit and soothes our body and soul, but also acts through us, so that mercy may be spread throughout our relationships, our families, the Church, society and the world.

The Power of Mercy

When we entrust ourselves to God's Mercy, through Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit, we learn to be merciful as well. We learn to remain faithful when someone becomes estranged; we learn to be patient in the face of misunderstanding or the unwillingness to understand; we learn to walk with those who are suffering; we learn to forgive others for wounds inflicted.

God is eternal and infinite Love. He wants to give us his patience, his goodness, his compassion and his forgiveness. He takes upon himself our human misery, calming us, freeing us, and making us take part in his Mercy. He transforms us by making us merciful toward others.

In this Year of Mercy, we are called to turn to God's Mercy and to become merciful ourselves. "It is my burning desire," says Pope Francis, "that during this Jubilee, the Christian people may reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. It will be a way to reawaken our conscience ... and let us enter more deeply into the heart of the Gospel. ... Jesus introduces us to these works of mercy in his preaching so that we can know whether or not we are living as his disciples. Let us rediscover these corporal works of mercy: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead. And let us not forget the spiritual works of mercy: to counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish sinners, comfort the afflicted, forgive offences, bear patiently those who do us ill, and pray for the living and the dead" (Misericordiae Vultus No. 15).

God's Mercy and our mercy are related: "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us."

Jesus said to us: "You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." He also said, "Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful," from which the motto for the Year of Mercy is taken. This can only be achieved by the grace of Christ, who loves the Father infinitely and who showed us the ultimate expression of his love. The call to be merciful like the Father is also a call to pray, to contemplate the crucified Jesus, to reconcile with God, to adore the Merciful Jesus, and to receive grace so that He may live in us.

Become People of Mercy

Let us not allow this Year of Mercy to go by without taking advantage of it. Let us work together to improve our understanding of Mercy and become better witnesses of God's Mercy. We are encouraged to become missionary disciples of the Mercy of God. The world in which we live, our societies, and our families are in need of Divine Mercy. As baptized people and as the Church of Jesus Christ, we are called to discover God's Mercy more and more, to experience it more and more, and to ever more be witnesses of it.

Where to begin? With Jesus Christ, for he is the Door of Mercy. It is through Him that we receive Divine Mercy and that we become capable of mercy. I urge you to pray the Jesus Prayer daily: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." Jesus never lets such a prayer go unanswered. It is a powerful prayer through which we appeal to the Mercy of God, who always remains close to us and to humanity.

Repeating this prayer until we live and breathe it, leads us to lay the cause of our misery before the Heart of Jesus, and to place our entire lives in God's hands. It is the source par excellence of inner peace. It guides us on the path of love, humility and peace.

May we grow together in faithfulness, patience, compassion and reconciliation to become People of Mercy.

+ Christian Lépine
Archbishop of Montreal

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