During this extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, I talked about there being three distinct, yet mutual and interdependent movements in the calling for in this year of Mercy.
- A Call to Experience Mercy
- A Call to Conversatio & Communion
- A Call to Mission in the World
For today, I just want to take a brief look at the call to experience Mercy. In Misericordiae Vultus, Pope Francis asks us to “let us allow God to surprise us. He never tires of casting open the doors of his heart and repeating that he love us and wants to share his love with us.” So how do we experience Mercy? How do we let God surprise us?
Remind ourselves that as a human we are capable of having a real encounter with a personal God. We are created for community, we are social by nature and we exist in a particular time and in a particular place. Our first encounter with God is a dynamic relationship where we first begin to understand the “i-thou” relationship of the whole person and God. Our second encounter with God comes when we become conscious of our experience. Therefore, there is a role for memory, ritual and imagination. When reflect back on an encounter to become more conscious of the experience so that we can go forward in new ways. It reveals to us ways in which God might be working, anchors us in a tradition and sends us forward with new inspiration and vision to see God.
So think back on your life when you had your first experience of being loved, even when you felt unlovable. Just sit with this experience and let God’s gaze come upon you……
How are you in the experience (What is your immediacy and intensity with the experience? How did this experience speak to who you are and who you are to be?)
Now think of the particularity of the experience itself…it is this particularity that speak of an expression of the incarnation and this experience can be uncommon and moving or a common and related experience.
Where there self-imposing consequences? Did your encounter with being loved, even when you felt unlovable move you to be more loving? We cannot give what we do not have….If we have received an experience of Mercy, we enter more deeply into the kingdom of God’s mercy by making it more available to all. At this moment, where do you need mercy? Can you ask for it? At this moment, where can you show mercy? Can you give it?
Pope Francis call us to an experience of Mercy, not only are we called to remind our own experience of Mercy, but to share that experience and to re-enter more deeply into that experience of Mercy rendering the world more merciful.