The Year of Mercy formally began on December 8, 2015, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, with the opening of the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. It ended with a simple but profound celebration for our community this past Sunday with the celebration of Christ the King. As quoted by our Holy Father, "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, everyone, the way of forgiveness and reconciliation. May the Mother of God open our eyes, so that we may comprehend the task to which we have been called; and may she obtain for us the grace to experience this Jubilee of Mercy as faithful and fruitful witnesses of Christ." As Christians we are ALL called by our baptismal call to live a life of faith and love. As sisters, in our daily living we seek and find God through our threefold promise of stability, conversatio (continued fidelity to monastic life) and obedience.
That the year has ended, we are called ever more profoundly to live a life of mercy through compassion and forgiveness to other people. With the recent elections we need to find a way to love and accept one another with dignity and respect despite our differences.
For me personally, I have focused on the word compassion. I try hard not to judge the actions of others because I don’t want to be judged. Every day I am more and more aware of God’s deep and unconditional love and mercy for me. I am God’s beloved. How can I not show that same compassion and mercy to others? It is not always easy, we are human, we fail and yet we keep trying. But I feel I am in an atmosphere conducive to continuous conversion of my short-comings.
With the holidays upon us, let us set aside our differences and rejoice in each other. Let us be thankful for the many blessings we have received and strive to love one another with the heart of the God who loves us so much. Be the first to ask forgiveness from another and the first to show kindness.
Tammy Lynn Shoemaker, OSB