Merciful like the Father”- The Papal motto for this extraordinary Year of Mercy!
As mothers, we can be a bit overwhelmed on how to live out an extraordinary jubilee year such as the one right around the corner! We can start to think on such a large scale that nothing really changes in our lives. As a busy mom, I myself know what it is like to experience Catholic guilt over missing out on the special graces the Lord wants to provide me and my family. So here is my cheat list of MUSTS for this year of tremendous graces! God is offering us an opportunity for grace and transformation through this gift of an extraordinary Year of Mercy. This special year begins with the feast of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th of this year and closes with the Feast of Christ the King which falls on November 20th of 2016.
TOP YEAR OF MERCY ACTIVITIES AND IDEAS!
- Read the Papal Bull: “There is no bull in this Bull”… Let’s get back to the basics. What happens in Rome shouldn’t stay there – we need to know about it! Read this great summary of Misericordiae Vultus by the Marians of the Immaculate Conception. Don’t have time to read the whole thing? Here are a few excerpts from this special letter from Pope Francis:
“At times we are called to gaze even more attentively on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s action in our lives.”
“We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends on it. Mercy: the word reveals the very mystery of the Most Holy Trinity.”
“Mercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life. All of her pastoral activity should be caught up in the tenderness she makes present to believers; nothing in her preaching and in her witness to the world can be lacking in mercy. The Church’s very credibility is seen in how she shows merciful and compassionate love.”
2. Come to Practice and Appreciate the Divine Mercy Devotion:
This devotion was revealed to us by the “Apostle of Mercy,” St. Faustina Kowalska. She shares in her personal Diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul, a powerful and compelling interaction with Jesus Christ and about His Divine Mercy. This wonderful devotion is a perfect complement for the Year of Mercy and our vocation to motherhood! The more we can live out the 5 aspects of Divine Mercy, the better we can successfully utilize mercy in our own lives. These 5 aspects are:
The Image of Divine Mercy
The Feast of Divine Mercy
The Chaplet of Divine Mercy
The Hour of Great Mercy
Spreading devotion to Divine Mercy
Visit www.marian.org for more ideas and a summary of this devotion and consider practicing this powerful Devotion during this Year of Mercy! You can also download the Divine Mercy App here.
3. Visit A Door of Mercy– Pope Francis is encouraging us to head on a pilgrimage to a designated Holy Door of Mercy. If you can’t make it to Rome, find a local cathedral, shrine or church that is offering a similar grace. Every particular church, therefore, will be directly involved in living out this Holy Year as an extraordinary moment of grace and spiritual renewal. Thus, the Jubilee will be celebrated both in Rome and in the particular churches as a visible sign of the Church’s universal communion.
“By crossing the threshold of the Holy Door, we will find the strength to embrace God’s mercy and dedicate ourselves to being merciful with others as the Father has been with us.”-Misericordiae Vultus- Papal Bull, section 14.
4. Write a Letter/ Note of Mercy: Who do you need to forgive? Mercy can be extended whether you are the victim or the violator; we all need God’s mercy and a letter affirming this mercy can go a long way. Think about your many relationships and decide who might need you to extend them mercy. Pick up a pen and write a handwritten letter affirming your desire to live out Mercy in your life.
“Pardoning offenses becomes the clearest expression of merciful love, and for us Christians it is an imperative from which we cannot excuse ourselves. At times how hard it seems to forgive! And yet pardon is the instrument placed into our fragile hands to attain serenity of heart. To let go of anger, wrath, violence, and revenge are necessary conditions to living joyfully”- Papal Bull
5. Mercy Journal: Track your spiritual progress and works of mercy in a Year of Mercy Journal. This journal will allow you to write down your prayers of thanksgiving and see that Christ is working in our lives every single day! Mark your calendar for December 8, the beginning of this extraordinary year! I hope that we can all grow in appreciation of God’s Mercy and be an instrument for the Lord.
6. Read More Scripture: “Be merciful just as your Father is merciful” (Lk 6:36). “In order to be capable of mercy, therefore, we must first of all dispose ourselves to listen to the Word of God.”-Misericordiae Vultus. Consider taking some time out in your busy day to read the word of God and allow Christ to speak to you. For the Daily Catholic Readings visit United State Catholic Bishops Conference. Consider placing this site as your homepage for the year of Mercy or sign up to receive the daily readings in your inbox!
7. Do Works of Mercy: As moms we are always on the go, so lets take time out and make sure our life is productive for the Lord. Mercy and motherhood go hand and hand. When we begin to think of others’ spiritual and physical needs, we can be the hands and feet of our Lord Jesus Christ himself. For ideas on how to implement this visit www.divinemercyformoms.com.
“Pope Francis affirms our intuition that mercy should be our focus as mothers. These acts of mercy reawaken our conscience, which too often grows dull through our own self-sufficiency. The works of mercy let us enter more deeply into the heart of the Gospel, where the poor have a special experience of God’s mercy.” – Divine Mercy for Moms
“Let us open our eyes and see the misery of the world, the wounds of our brothers and sisters who are denied their dignity, and let us recognize that we are compelled to heed their cry for help! May we reach out to them and support them so they can feel the warmth of our presence, our friendship, and our fraternity”- Pope Francis
Let us not miss out on the amazing graces being offered to us during this up and coming year of Mercy! As moms, mark your iPhones and calendars for December 8, 2015!