Pope Francis released a message for Lent this past week, reminding Catholics of the work of mercy:
"God’s mercy transforms human hearts; it enables us, through the experience of a faithful love, to become merciful in turn," continuing, "In an ever new miracle, divine mercy shines forth in our lives, inspiring each of us to love our neighbour and to devote ourselves to what the Church’s tradition calls the spiritual and corporal works of mercy."
Read the full letter here.
Congruently, Pope Francis released a short video calling all people to care for creation, in which he addresses a wider community, beginning, "believers and unbelievers," further expressing his message of inclusiveness.
For Pope Francis messaging strategy is an important one for all of us to remember as we continue our creation care efforts. Creation care is universal and involves everyone because it impacts everyone, regardless of religious affiliation. As we move forward in calling Americans to act on climate change, we must remain inclusive by using terms that speak to a wider audience, such as 'people of faith.'
“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.
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