Praying the Year of Mercy

Jubilee Year of Mercy- Final CoverA number of resources have been prepared for the Year of Mercy.

I’m sort of pleased to say that one of them remains somewhat distinctive.

It offers an oversight of the principal features of the year as can be seen from the contents page below. It will therefore serve as a useful companion to the Year, reminding of its key elements.

Contents

Most importantly though, the book especially focuses on the opportunity the Year offers for leading people into prayerful reflection on the Lord’s active and merciful presence in Scripture and in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

The Year of Mercy  is an invitation for the Church and the world to know afresh the mercy of God. Prayer – especially in response to the word of God, and in the celebration of the Sacraments – leads us into a deeper knowledge of the God of Mercy and Truth. They also help us to a more faithful and fruitful living, strong in love for God, strong in love for neighbour.

‘A Prayer Book’ seeks to sustain and encourage that process of renewal.

The book comes with a Foreword from Archbishop Bernard Longley, the Archbishop of Birmingham

The Jubilee Year of Mercy is rich with promise for the Church and for the world.

Pope Francis has reminded the Church that ‘We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends on it.’

This mercy, made known in Jesus Christ, is the source of our Christian identity. It is also the gift we are asked to share with the whole world. Pope Francis urges us to this also, to be effective signs of the Father’s action in our lives, living witnesses to others of the love God has for everyone.

This booklet helps us make the most of the Jubilee Year. It provides food for our private prayer, and support for times when we come together to pray with others. Used well, it will deepen our experience of God’s mercy, so that the Lord can make us more fit for mission, and strengthen our desire to share the good news of the mercy of God with our families and our neighbours.

+ Bernard Longley
Archbishop of Birmingham

Hopefully the book will be available from all good Catholic bookshops. Big discounts, however, are available if you go direct to the publisher…

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Speak Lord: a broken family

Auschwitz

The second reading at Mass this coming Sunday is a cry from the heart of St Paul, distressed at the separation between him and his people, because they would not accept Jesus as the Christ, Lord, the Son of God.

What I want to say now is no pretence; I say it in union with Christ – it is the truth – my conscience in union with the Holy Spirit assures me of it too. What I want to say is this: my sorrow is so great, my mental anguish so endless, I would willingly be condemned and be cut off from Christ if it could help my brothers of Israel, my own flesh and blood. They were adopted as sons, they were given the glory and the covenants; the Law and the ritual were drawn up for them, and the promises were made to them. They are descended from the patriarchs and from their flesh and blood came Christ who is above all, God for ever blessed! Amen.

Romans 9:1-5

Antisemitism is one of the principal blights that has afflicted the Church, and been a curse for the Jews, for two millennia.

Its most horrifying manifestation was the Shoah – the degradation and slaughter of 6 million Jews by the Nazi state. Although the abomination of terror and death was turned on many others too, including Russians and Poles, Gypsies, homosexuals, socialists, the physically and mentally ‘handicapped’ and Christians. the evil waged against the Jews stands out.

And the Nazi persecution owed at least some of its purchase over Party minds and the German nation, because prejudice and discrimination against Jews had long been at least semi-respectable in society, because it was tolerated, and sometimes actively promoted in the Church, East and West, Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant.

St Paul’s lament reminds not only of his blood relationship to fellow Jews, but of each Christian’s relationship with Judaism and therefore ‘the Jews’ through the waters of baptism. And if baptism is to mean anything surely its water has to be ‘thicker’ than blood.

  • What prejudices do you see in yourself?
  • What prejudice do you see in others?

Pope John Paul in the year 2000 , in Rome at a service of Repentance, prayed for forgiveness for Christians’ sins against the people of Israel.

Let us pray that, in recalling the sufferings endured by the people of Israel throughout history, Christians will acknowledge the sins committed by not a few of their number against the people of the Covenant and the blessings, and in this way will purify their hearts.

[Silent prayer.]

God of our fathers, you chose Abraham and his descendants to bring your Name to the Nations: we are deeply saddened by the behaviour of those who in the course of history have caused these children of yours to suffer, and asking your forgiveness we wish to commit ourselves to genuine brotherhood with the people of the Covenant. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Kyrie, eleison; Kyrie, eleison; Kyrie eleison.

He placed the prayer at the Western Wall of the former Temple in Jerusalem, during his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, later that year.

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