V + J
Abiding with Confidence in the Merciful Heart of Jesus
When our Holy Father announced this Jubilee of Mercy, he told us that we need this Jubilee of Mercy today “Simply because the Church, in this time of great historical change, is called to offer more evident signs of God’s presence and closeness.” (Pope Francis First Vespers, Divine Mercy Sunday 2015) At the opening of the Year of Consecrated Life, Pope Francis challenged us to ask ourselves: “Is Jesus really our first and only love as we promised he would be when we professed our vows? Only if he is, will we be empowered to love, in truth and mercy, every person who crosses our path. For we will have learned from Jesus the meaning and practice of love. We will be able to love because we have his own heart.” (Opening Message of Pope Francis, 21 November 2014)
It is often easier for us to show mercy than to receive it. If we truly abide in the Heart of Jesus, we receive mercy continuously. We all want to be the sign of mercy that our Holy Father is asking us to be. Perhaps it is in accepting this precious gift of mercy and abiding in the merciful Heart of Christ that we can really learn how to be that living sign of mercy.
We find the tender mercy of God expressed most eloquently in the Heart of Jesus. In his Introduction to the Devout Life, St. Francis de Sales is instructing his spiritual child, Philothea, in a life of union with God: “The second way of placing yourself in the presence of God is to reflect that God is present not only in the place where you are, but that he is very specially present in your heart and in the very center of your spirit. He enlivens and animates it by his divine presence, being there as the heart of your heart and the spirit of your spirit.” (IDL 2:2)
For us to bring this message of mercy to others, we first have to discover it in ourselves. St. Francis de Sales wrote to St. Jane de Chantal: “ My advice, my daughter, is that henceforth we live no more in ourselves, but that in heart, intention, and confidence we lodge forever in the pierced side of the Savior. My daughter, I must tell you that I have never seen so clearly how much you are my daughter as now. But I say it as I see it in the Heart of our Savior. O my daughter, how I desire that your life be hidden with Jesus Christ in God!” (Letters of St. Francis de Sales)
Our Holy Father stated: “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.” (Pope Francis First Vespers, Divine Mercy Sunday 2015)
Quoting once again St. Francis de Sales in the Introduction to the Devout Life, we hear: “Be conscious of the love with which Jesus Christ, our Lord suffered so much in this world, especially in the Garden of Olives and on the Mount of Calvary. You were the object of this love .”
YOU WERE THE OBJECT OF THIS LOVE!
We ARE the object of this love.
“Remember, Philothea, the heart of our Lord, saw your heart and loved you surely from the tree of the Cross. By this love he obtained for you all the good things you will ever have.”
St. Francis de Sales described what it means to abide with confidence in the merciful Heart of Jesus: “Finally, I will rest in the love of the sole and unique goodness of God. I will taste, if I am able, this immense goodness, not in its effects, but in itself. I will drink this water of life, not in the vessels or vials of creatures, but from its very source. I will savor how good this divine majesty is in itself, by itself, for itself.” (Wright, Heart Speaks to Heart, p. 27)
May God Be Praised!