How Will You Practice Mercy?

Tuesday began the Jubilee Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis. In the Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy issued in April, Pope Francis spoke of our need to “gaze ever more attentively on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s action in our lives,” and expressed his desire that “the witness of believers might grow stronger.”

The invitation for each of us to think about how we might make extra efforts to practice mercy during this Jubilee Year.

Loyola Press published some Practical Suggestions for Practicing the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy. Their suggestions for practicing the corporal work of mercy of feeding the hungry, for example, include

see to the proper nutrition of your loved ones,
support and volunteer for food pantries, soup kitchens, and agencies that feed the
hungry;
make a few sandwiches to hand out as you walk through areas where you might
encounter people in need;
educate yourself about world hunger;
avoid wasting food;
share your meals with others.

You can also find a list of 56 Ways to be merciful during the Jubilee Year on the Aleteia website. They include, for example,

Resist sarcasm; it is the antithesis of mercy: “Set, O Lord, a guard over my mouth; keep watch, O Lord, at the door of my lips!” (Psalm 141:3).

Pare down possessions: share your things with the needy.

Call someone who you know is lonely, even if you understand why they’re lonely. Especially if you do.

Write a letter of forgiveness to someone. If you cannot send it, sprinkle it with holy water, ask Christ Jesus to have mercy on you both and then burn or bury it.

Learn to say this prayer: “Dear Lord, bless [annoying person’s name] and have mercy on me!”

You can probably think of others on your own. The point is to be intentional – to take the Pope’s invitation and make it your own. Think about how you might use this year to make the practice a mercy a priority.

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