by Rev. Jeff Gannon
First, I want to talk about a person for whom I have deep respect on the topic of science and faith. Fr. Robert Spitzer, a Jesuit, has become a prominent voice on this topic. If you are interested in listening to lectures by Fr. Spitzer, please go the web and look up Magis Center for Faith and Reason. www.magiscenter.com. Magis is simply a Latin word which means, “more.”
Secondly, I have blessed to participate in the Year of Mercy as named by Pope Francis.
On April 11, 2015, Pope Francis stood before the Holy Door in St. Peter’s Basilica and announced an historic event. For only the fourth time in Church history, there will be an extraordinary Jubilee Year – in this case, an extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. “Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy,” Pope Francis says in opening his papal bull Misericordiae Vultus (The Face of Mercy). In this light, “Merciful like the Father” is the motto he chose for the Jubilee Year. It comes from Luke 6:36, “Be merciful just as your Father is merciful.”
The extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy runs from Dec. 8, 2015 to Nov. 20, 2016, the solemnity of Christ the King. By calling for the Jubilee Year, Pope Francis has underscored the signature message of his pontificate: mercy.
Mercy is the Pope’s answer to evil, following the teaching of St. John Paul II who, in his last book, Memory and Identity, wrote “[T]he limit imposed upon evil, of which man is both perpetrator and victim, is ultimately Divine Mercy.”
Pope Francis explained, “Here, then, is the reason for the Jubilee: because this is the time for mercy. It is the favorable time to heal wounds, a time not to be weary of meeting all those who are waiting to see and to touch with their hands the signs of the closeness of God, a time to offer everyone the way of forgiveness and reconciliation.”
I have been blessed to pray the prayer Pope Francis wrote for daily use.
Lord Jesus Christ, you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father, and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him. Show us your face and we will be saved.
Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money; the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things; made Peter weep after his betrayal, and assured Paradise to the repentant thief. Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman: “If you knew the gift of God!”
You are the visible face of the invisible Father, of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy: let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.
You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error: let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God.
Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing, so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord, and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor, proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed, and restore sight to the blind.
We ask this through Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen