The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we help our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily needs. Pope Francis outlined them in his Bull of Indiction for the Jubilee of Mercy (No. 15): “Let us rediscover these corporal works of mercy: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead. And let us not forget the spiritual works of mercy: to counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish sinners, comfort the afflicted, forgive offences, bear patiently those who do us ill, and pray for the living and the dead”.
On Divine Mercy Sunday, at the heart of the extraordinary Jubilee, during Mass on Sunday, 3 April, the Holy Father explained that to be apostles of mercy means to touch and caress the wounds of Christ, present today in the body and soul of so many brothers and sisters.
“Curing these wounds, we profess Jesus, we make him present and alive; we allow others, who touch his mercy with their own hands, to recognize him as ‘Lord and God’, as did the Apostle Thomas”, he insisted. “Let us ask for the grace to never grow tired of drawing from the well of the Father’s mercy and bringing it to the world: let us ask that we too may be merciful, to spread the power of the Gospel everywhere”.
The night before in St. Peter’s Square, with thousands of pilgrims who came to Rome to represent all those who adhere to the spirituality of Divine Mercy, the Holy Father suggested that every diocese in the world, erect a kind of “monument” to this Year of Mercy, through a work of living mercy in the form of a structure of mercy: a hospital, a home for the elderly, for abandoned children, a school where none exists, a home for the recovery of addicts... “It would be very good for each diocese to consider: what can we leave as a living memory, as a work of living mercy, as a wound of the living Jesus for this Year of Mercy? Let us reflect on this and speak to the bishops about it” the Pope concluded.
The members of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, present on five continents, will be particularly keen to respond to this call in their local churches.
(April 16, 2016)