Holy Years and Jubilee Years come and go, and life moves on to the next thing. What will be the legacy of this Year of Mercy? I like to think the past year has focused all our minds and hearts on an important truth - whatever our vocation, we are all called to be missionary disciples in our world today.
Amidst all the things I have heard and read these past twelve months, the epistolary words of Blessed Columba Marmion have spoken to me in a most powerful way. I share them with you:
"It is not our perfection which is to dazzle God, who is surrounded by myriads of angels. No, it is our misery, our wretchedness avowed which draws down His mercy… you are never dearer to God, never glorify Him more than when, in full realisation of your misery and unworthiness, you gaze at His infinite goodness and cast yourself on His bosom, believing in faith that His mercy is infinitely greater than your misery.”
It doesn’t get much better than this. We see this time and time again in the Gospel, someone’s personal misery and sense of failure becomes the vehicle for the merciful gift of trust and confidence. Just think of Zacchaeus: Jesus wasn’t attracted to him because he was totally upright. Quite the opposite in fact! But as Blessed Marmion says, the realisation of his misery made him totally open to the encounter with Jesus.
It’s this alone that can bring about conversion: this alone can enable us to become apostles of mercy, when we’ve experienced God’s mercy for ourselves. And so you and I must be the legacy of the Year of Mercy. How are we going to carry on the extraordinary grace of this year?
Bring it on!