Why a Whole Year of Mercy?

Why a Whole Year of Mercy?

 

Why did Pope Francis give us a whole year dedicated to mercy? Why a whole year of mercy? Couldn’t we just have an amnesty day? Couldn’t we just say that on this particular day, everyone’s getting forgiven. On this particular day, everyone is going to get forgiven and we are going to move on and party like before. We’re not going to make a whole year out of this mercy thing. Why didn’t the pope just do that?

 

The prophet Isaiah wrote of God’s coming, “Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.” Remember John the Baptist calling this out when he called the people to repentance? Do you think you can fill in a valley or level a mountain in a day?

 

Wouldn’t our road department love that! Just like the state highway department needs months and sometimes years to build a highway, so we need a whole year of mercy to do what needs to be done.

 

One day, one moment is not enough. It’s not enough time to make the mountains level or to fill in the gorge. We can all be good for one day, and that’s not going to change our life. We can all say we’re sorry once, but that doesn’t mean that we change our habits. In order to change a habit, we have to continually seek God’s mercy. We have to go back again and again and again and again and again and again and again- you get the point here? Again, because we need this whole year which gives us permission to change. It gives us practice in changing!

 

We have a whole year because we don’t want to say that we are going to be merciful and forget about sin. No. We are going to concentrate on sin more. We are going to concentrate on the fact that God cares more about our repentance than he does about our sin. He cares much more about us asking for mercy than he does about whatever it is that we did.

 

Consider us priests are in the confessional. We really don’t care what you did. We don’t! All we care about as it is that you’re coming to receive the mercy of God which is why we are so joyful! It is a great mercy that God continuously offers you. This is what the year of mercy is all about.

 

We need to start going to confession regularly. You’re going to say, “Father, you wrote on that before.” I know I presented before. I’m writing on it again! Why? Because confession is that important.

 

If you want to change your habits, if you want to change your life, if you want God to come into your life, it has to start this day with confession because you need to be made accountable. Why do so many New Year’s resolutions fail? Because you don’t have accountability. You stand up on New Year’s day and say, “I’m going to lose weight.” Well, that’s nice. But you don’t say, “Hey I’m going to check in with someone every week, and they’re gonna tell me if I’m doing it.”

 

It’s the same with confession. We should be going to confession in this year of mercy and taking up the Lord on this offer of grace. We should going to confession every month. Every single month, we should going to confession. Why? Not because we necessarily have more sins. We go to confession often so we can take advantage of this great offer of God’s forgiveness. If you have more sins, you to be going more often than once a month! Maybe you need to go once a week if you have more sins!

 

This year celebrates the fact that God will never tire of forgiving us. He will never tire of throwing more earth into that gorge. He will never tire of chipping away at that mountain. He will never tire of smoothing out that highway to our hearts. No matter how many boulders we throw in the path, no matter how many times we turn away, if we keep working on this, if we keep saying, “Look, Lord, I’m crying out to you for mercy,” He will give it to you. But it takes effort, and confession is going to give you the grace to make that effort. Why? Two reasons.

 

One: Confession keeps you accountable. You gotta go. You gotta say what you did wrong. You gotta say what you are doing well, too, or maybe not been doing so well.

 

Number two: Confession is going to give you the grace to change. Without grace, we can’t change. We can’t do it. Without grace, were not able to live this Christian life. But with grace, all things are possible.

 

Put in your calendar right now, once a month, that you’re going to go to confession. Mark it every single month. You put in your smart phone everything that’s important to you, don’t you? Well, put confession in there. Even if you only go to confession half the time you have marked in the phone, you might be doing better than you are doing now! Once a month. Let’s take God up on His offer! Let’s seek out the mercy of God. God will never tire of hearing us and forgiving us for He is Mercy.

 

--Father Jacob Meyer, CFP Visitor

© 2016 by The Confraternity of Penitents, 1702 Lumbard Street, Fort Wayne IN USA 46803   www.penitents.org

 

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