Pope Francis declared this year to be a Jubilee Year of Mercy celebrating acts of mercy concerning the bodies and souls of our fellow human beings. It ends this month, so we wanted to take the opportunity to look back on the year.
1. What did you do (or can in these last few weeks!) to mark the year?
If you aren’t familiar (as I was not prior to this year) the acts of mercy are:
When we started attending church this year we began donating financially and some of that money goes to charities like the Society of St. Vincent de Paul that provides support to the poor.
We began searching for a ministry that is right for us, and I’m sure we will find something in the future. I started my blog this year to provide information for people who don’t know a lot about Catholicism and to guide the doubtful (as I was) in the direction of Jesus.
I read A Call to Mercy: Hearts to Love, Hands to Serve by St. Mother Teresa. You can read my review. I read books about Mother Teresa to my six year old and we enjoyed using these printables by Tara at This Sweet Life of Mine.
I had an interesting experience on All Souls Day this year. I went to the church for Adoration only to find that it was cancelled. Generally, I would shrug and go home. I heard people in the church and I was curious, so I went upstairs and saw that they were getting ready for mass. Then it occurred to me that this was the All Souls Day mass in honour of those who had died, especially this year. I felt compelled to stay. People were well-dressed for this mass. Probably because they received invitations if members of their family had died that year, so most of the people there were not regular church-goers, but were there for their families. I, on the other hand, was not well-dressed, even by my own low standards. I felt out of place and wondered at my decision to stay, but I did. I felt humbled and honoured to be there so coincidentally to pray for the dead and to shake hands with the grieving families that surrounded me.
2. What Work of Mercy is easiest or most challenging for you?
Teaching is easiest for me. All I have to do is tell people about my own experience. Doing it well is a matter of practice.
The most difficult Act of Mercy for me is being comforting to people.
I’m a practical person, I have fairly low expectations of the world, and I’ve suffered from anxiety my whole life. It can be very difficult for me to accept that one’s perception of suffering is relative to life experience. I have a hard time seeing the person through the whining.
It’s difficult for me to find something comforting to say. Even if it’s true, most people who are in pain don’t want to hear it. A lot of suffering has no words, and you can’t just go around hugging people.
3. Do you have a story of mercy in your own life to share? Or do you have a favourite saint/quote/resource about mercy to pass along?
Even if we have never been devastated or destitute we receive mercy from others all the time.
The person who ignores my saucy child, or better yet prays for us.
The weekly Buddhist potluck where they accepted my insignificant contribution and let me eat when I was a starving student.
The priests at our parish who seem to know just where we need to be led.
We are all invited to ask and receive the mercy of God. Someday, I’ll write a whole post about my experience with God’s mercy and how He and The Virgin Mary gave me everything I needed even when I was too blind to ask.