Pope Francis boldly stated that, “No one can be excluded from the mercy of God; everyone knows the way to access it and the Church is the house that welcomes all and refuses no one. Its doors remain wide open, so that those who are touched by grace can find the certainty of forgiveness.” By proclaiming a Jubilee Year of Mercy the Holy Father has emphasized the importance of mercy in our times. In this age, the Year of Mercy is a truly extraordinary opportunity for all to spread God’s merciful love to those who desperately seek it.
The Holy Father has asked the Apostleship of Prayer to pray specifically for people who desire God’s mercy in his universal intention for the month of December. He asked for all members to pray, “that all may experience the mercy of God, who never tires of forgiving” and “that families, especially those who suffer, may find in the birth of Jesus a sign of certain hope.” In presenting these two intentions, Pope Francis is noting the appropriateness of having the Year of Mercy begin within the context of the Advent season which gives us hope in Christ who became a child out of His merciful love.
The IRL has taken Pope Francis’ charge seriously and is celebrating this Year of Mercy by commissioning an icon written by Vivian Imbruglia. This beautiful icon has been utilized in the creation of several devotional items. You can download a Year of Mercy catalogue sheet featuring special icon triptych cards, prayer cards, Gospel of Mercy devotional book, icon prints and greeting cards. These devotional items are a tangible way in which you can open wide the door of mercy to all people.
As we prepare to begin the Year of Mercy, let us all work to spread this most necessary message in our time. Let us imitate Pope Francis during the Year of Mercy who encouraged the faithful to “allow God to surprise us. He never tires of throwing open the doors of his heart. He loves us and wants to share his love with us.”