Year of Mercy Part 2 – A Spiritual Reflection
The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
On April 11, 2015, Pope Francis declared a “Jubilee Year Dedicated to the Virtue of Mercy” symbolically beginning with the opening of the “Holy Door” at St. Peter Basilica in Rome on December 8, 2015 (Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception). Last week I referenced the catholic blog site, Aleteia, who listed “56 Ways to Be Merciful During the Jubilee Year of Mercy.” They suggested randomly selecting one each week and putting it into practice. Some I thought were interesting, some not too difficult. Some I would personally find very challenging. I listed the first 25 last week. Here are the rest.
26) Have alternative drinks, other than water, for times when those who have been struggling with alcohol come to visit.
27) Take advantage of sales to buy small toothpastes, soaps, shampoos, socks and feminine products/toiletries; donate them to parish outreach, or make gift bags and have them ready to hand out where needed.
28) Read John Paul II’s “Dives in misericordia” bit-by-bit through the year.
29) Create a short end-of-day ritual to ask for (and extend) forgiveness with those you live with. “…do not let the sun set on your anger” (Eph 4:26).
30) Make a list of your “enemies.” Then, every day, say a prayer for them.
31) Make a point to smile, greet or make conversation with someone who is not in your everyday circle.
32) Give away something of yours (that you really like) to someone you know who would enjoy it.
33) Pray a Divine Mercy Chaplet as you are traveling to or from work.
34) When mercy for others is difficult, pray Cardinal Merry del Val’s Litany of Humility.
35) Make a gratitude journal for your spouse and jot down little things he or she does that you’re grateful for. Bite your tongue and go write in it (or at least read it) the next time you want to criticize in a moment of frustration.
36) Learn to make an Ignatian “Examen” every night. Remembering God’s mercy each night helps us to be merciful.
37) Respond to provocation with the respect you wish a person would show you.
38) Learn the Jesus Prayer and use it.
39) Take a few minutes during the week to stop at a church and sit before the Tabernacle, simply to be with Christ, the Merciful. If you cannot do that, meditate upon the crucifix.
40) Pray a novena for the good of someone you dislike.
41) Dig out your most attractive stationery and hand-write an actual letter to someone, as a means of demonstrating their importance to you.
42) Offer to read to someone who is feeling ill or is just feeling blue.
43) Ask the Holy Spirit to groan for you when you cannot bring yourself to pray for someone who has done you an injury.
44) Lead with a kind comment with friends as well as strangers.
45) When conversations devolve into “the dark joy” of gossip, help change the subject.
46) Can you play the piano, or any instrument? Can you recite poetry? Give free “concerts” to the forgotten people in nursing homes and assisted living centers.
47) Visit the graves of your ancestors, or visit a local cemetery and walk around praying a rosary for all the souls buried there
48) Go On Retreat. It’s a way to be merciful to yourself and also to the people around you, who know you need to go on retreat. If you cannot do that, at least try to make a day, or evening, of recollection.
49) Admit your jealousy, both to yourself and your confessor.
50) Offer to pray with someone, even someone you encounter on the street or public transport who looks like they could use it.
51) Keep holy cards, short prayers, or blessed medals handy and give them out to people you meet as you are inspired as a blessing to others.
52) Offer hospitality in your home to someone or a group of people you would normally never invite over.
53) With a few other people at your church, plan a party and invite all those from “the highways and byways” to come.
54) If someone you know seems to lack faith, share some of yours — tell him or her how Christ has changed your life.
55) Pay the parking or toll fee for the person behind you.
56) Give the much-maligned Pope Benedict XVI a fair reading sometime. You’ll be surprised.
57) Pray every day for the souls in Purgatory. Pray for your dead.