“I desire mercy, and not sacrifice” (Mt 9:13). The works of mercy on the road of the Jubilee
1. Mary, the image of a Church which evangelizes because she is evangelized
In the Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, I asked that “the season of Lent in this Jubilee Year be lived more intensely as a privileged moment to celebrate and experience God’s mercy” (Misericordiae Vultus, 17). By calling for an attentive listening to the word of God and encouraging the initiative “24 Hours for the Lord”, I sought to stress the primacy of prayerful listening to God’s word, especially his prophetic word. The mercy of God is a proclamation made to the world, a proclamation which each Christian is called to experience at first hand. For this reason, during the season of Lent I will send out Missionaries of Mercy as a concrete sign to everyone of God’s closeness and forgiveness.
After receiving the Good News told to her by the Archangel Gabriel, Mary, in her Magnificat, prophetically sings of the mercy whereby God chose her. The Virgin of Nazareth, betrothed to Joseph, thus becomes the perfect icon of the Church which evangelizes, for she was, and continues to be, evangelized by the Holy Spirit, who made her virginal womb fruitful. In the prophetic tradition, mercy is strictly related – even on the etymological level – to the maternal womb (rahamim) and to a generous, faithful and compassionate goodness (hesed) shown within marriage and family relationships.
2. God’s covenant with humanity: a history of mercy
The mystery of divine mercy is revealed in the history of the covenant between God and his people Israel. God shows himself ever rich in mercy, ever ready to treat his people with deep tenderness and compassion, especially at those tragic moments when infidelity ruptures the bond of the covenant, which then needs to be ratified more firmly in justice and truth. Here is a true love story, in which God plays the role of the betrayed father and husband, while Israel plays the unfaithful child and bride. These domestic images – as in the case of Hosea (cf. Hos 1-2) – show to what extent God wishes to bind himself to his people.
Start the Lenten season with a renewed focus on prayer with these resources that offer suggestions for observing Lent, along with prayers and intentions for any week of Lent. They can be used by families and in other group settings or by individuals. More resources will be posted here throughout the Lenten Season.
- What is Lent? a video by Archbishop Gomez http://bcove.me/y67eggxm
- Lent Calendar
- Lenten Prayer
- Respect Life Blog: Opening Eyes, Ears and Hearts in Lent -Coming Soon
- Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy | Español
- Article – Pro Life Perspective: Begin Again
Kimberly Baker of the USCCB Secretariat of Pro Life Activities reflects on how participation in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation offers us the chance to “begin again” during Lent and experience the life-giving power of God’s mercy.
- A Week of Prayers for Lenten Devotions
- Fast & Abstinence
- Lent Videos
- Liturgical Resources
- Reflection on Lenten Fasting
- Saints for the Lenten Season
- Six Ways to Evangelize during Lent
- Ten Things to Remember for Lent
For more resources for Lent Visit the Usccb