Mercy is God’s identity card; it’s ours too!
Nga mihi atawhai – greetings to all in Mercy! For once, the much anticipated pile of post-Christmas novels has been set aside. Squeezing them out for pride of place has been the first book written by Pope Francis. The slim 150-page book, published in English in mid-January, bears a title written in the pope’s own handwriting, The name of God is Mercy. Most of the book is the result of an interview with veteran Vatican journalist Andrea Tornielli; attached as an appendix is the text of Misericordiae Vultus, the document in which Francis announced his decision to proclaim the Holy Year of Mercy which began on December 8 and will end on November 20.
In simple, personal terms, the book helps to explain why mercy is emerging as the keystone of the present papacy, and why Francis has instituted the Year of Mercy. The bottom line is his deep conviction that mercy is the first attribute of God. “The name of God is mercy,” Francis writes. “There are no situations we cannot get out of, we are not condemned to sink into quicksand.” The church is not in the world to condemn, he says, but “to make possible an encounter with the visceral love that is God’s mercy. For this to occur we must go out. Go out from the churches and parishes, go out to find people where they suffer, where they hope.”
There are some key themes in the pope’s book which connect directly with our Mercy ministries…..
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