Pope: a faith unable to take upon itself the Lord’s wounds is not faith, it is an idea, it is ideology
Pope Francis presides at a prayer vigil for the Feast of Divine Mercy in St. Peter’s Square, eleven years after the death of John Paul II who instituted the feast. "How nice it would be that as a reminder, as a monument of this year of mercy there was a work of mercy in every diocese: a hospital, a nursing home, a school".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "A faith that is not able to take upon itself the Lord’s wounds is not a faith, it is an idea, it is ideology. Our faith is embodied in a God who became man, who became sin, if we have faith we must caress the wounds and even bow down and leave it to others to caress our wounds" concluded Pope Francis that, moving from his scripted text, during his reflection for the prayer vigil for Divine Mercy in St. Peter's Square, eleven years after the death of John Paul II who instituted the feast.
And again, referring to a meeting with an association of mercy, "how nice it would be that as a reminder, as a monument to this Year of Mercy there was a work of mercy in every diocese: a hospital, a nursing home, a school, you can do many things. It would be nice that every diocese leave a living reminder of this Year of Mercy ".
A Mercy that, in his words, that is "first of all God’s closeness to His people", who in Jesus not only can "touch", but are called to become ourselves an instrument of His mercy "and" the more we receive it, the more we are called upon to offer it, to share it”. A mercy that must be put into practice. "It is easy - he says – to talk of mercy, it is a far greater challenge to witness to it concretely ".
There were twenty thousand people holding vigil with Pope Francis. They prayed for persecuted Christians and Christian prisoners of worldly mentality, the abused and exploited, refugees and exiles. And invoking Divine Mercy to touch the hearts of the violent, the sowers of hatred and those who oppress the dignity of man.
"How many are the expressions of mercy with which God encounters us? They are numerous and it is impossible to describe them all, for the mercy of God continually increases. God never tires of showing us mercy and we should never take for granted the opportunity to receive, seek and desire this mercy. It is something always new, which inspires awe and wonder as we see God’s immense creativity in the ways he comes to meet us. God has revealed himself, on many occasions, through his name which is “mercy” (cf. Ex 34:6). How great and infinite is the nature of God, so great and infinite his mercy, to the point that it is greatly challenging to describe it in all its entirety. Through Sacred Scriptures, we find that mercy is above all the closeness of God to his people. It is a closeness expressed essentially through help and protection. It is the closeness of a father or mother reflected in the beautiful words of the prophet Isaiah: “I led them with cords of compassion, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them” (11:4). This image is extremely evocative: God picks each one of us up and holds us to his cheek. How much tenderness and love is expressed here! I had these words of the prophet in mind when I saw the image for the Jubilee. Jesus not only carries humanity on his shoulders, but his face is so closely joined to Adam’s face that it gives the impression they are one”.
“We do not have a God who is incapable of understanding and sharing our weaknesses (cf. Heb 4:15). Quite the contrary! Precisely because of his mercy God became one of us: “For by his incarnation the Son of God has united himself in some fashion with every man. He worked with human hands, he thought with a human mind, acted by human choice and loved with a human heart. Born of the Virgin Mary, he has truly been made one of us, like us in all things except sin” (Gaudium et Spes, 22). In Jesus, therefore, we are able not only to touch the mercy of God with our hands, but we are inspired to become instruments of his mercy. It is easy to speak of mercy, yet more difficult to become its witness. This is a path that is lifelong and which should not be interrupted. Jesus has said to us that we must be “merciful as the Father” (cf. Lk 6:36)”.
“How many expressions there are, therefore, of God’s mercy! This mercy comes to us as closeness and tenderness, and because of this, comes also as compassion and solidarity, as consolation and forgiveness. The more we receive, the more we are called to share it with others; it cannot be kept hidden or kept only for ourselves. It is something which burns within our hearts, driving us to love, thus recognizing the face of Jesus Christ, above all in those who are most distant, weak, alone, confused and marginalized. Mercy seeks out the lost sheep, and when one is found, a contagious joy overflows. Mercy knows how to look into the eyes of every person; each one is precious, for each one is unique”.
“Dear brothers and sisters, mercy never allows us to feel satisfied. It is the love of Christ which makes us restless until we reach the goal; it impels us to embrace, welcome and include those who need mercy, so that all may be reconciled with the Father (cf. 2 Cor 5:14-20). We ought not to fear for it is a love which comes to us and involves us to such an extent that we go beyond ourselves, enabling us to see his face in our brothers and sisters. Let us allow ourselves to be humbly guided by this love; then we will become merciful as the Father is merciful. It is good that it is the Holy Spirit who guides us: he is love, he is the mercy that is poured into our hearts. May we not place obstacles to his life-giving work but with docility follow the path he shows us. Let us open our hearts so that the Spirit can transform us; thus forgiven and reconciled, we will become witnesses to the joy that brims over on finding the risen Lord, alive among us”.