Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on our weakness, and mercifully give us those things which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Collect for Proper 11, Book of Common Prayer, 1979, p. 231
This is a short meditation on the Collect for Proper 11 (July 19, 2020). It is my invitation to you to take the names and descriptions of God as your own prayer-starter or meditation. Listen also to our requests of God: “… have compassion on our weakness … mercifully give us (good, useful, helpful, wise gifts) those things which for our unworthiness (what does that admission do to you?) we dare not ask, and for our blindness (what are you not seeing?) cannot ask.”
… for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.… Matthew 25:35-36
A Caravaggio masterpiece on mercy calls to Pope Francis across the centuries
(RNS) If Pope Francis wanted a single image to illustrate the special Year of Mercy that is the current focus of his ministry and, indeed, the theme at the heart of his pontificate, he could do no better than choosing an underappreciated masterpiece by the thrilling Italian artist known as Caravaggio.
In fact, the 400-year-old canvas, an altarpiece in a Naples church titled “The Seven Acts of Mercy,” may represent the perfect combination of the man — or, rather, two men — and the moment: a brilliant painter with a scurrilous reputation who was striving for redemption, and a popular pontiff struggling to make the church more welcoming to outcasts.
Why does this painting call across the centuries?
I invite you to read the entire essay posted by Religion News Service on March 30, 2016 and learn more about Caravaggio, this remarkable painting, the theme of mercy, and how this painting (and Caravaggio himself) calls us to act with mercy and live with hope. ~Fr. Dan
Pope Francis launched the jubilee of mercy on Tuesday (Dec. 8) with the opening of the Vatican’s holy door, joined by his predecessor Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square, surrounded by heavy security.
“This extraordinary year is itself a gift of grace,” Francis told the faithful gathered at the Vatican. “To pass through the holy door means to rediscover the infinite mercy of the Father who welcomes everyone and goes out personally to encounter each of them.”
Once again we encourage you to read the text of Pope Francis’ declaration—Misericordiae Vultus—that sets out the purpose of the Jubilee of Mercy and invites all Christ-followers to encounter and share God’s mercy and love.
Image: Osservatore Romano/Handout via Reuters via RNS
Listen. Do you hear it? Mercy. Mercy. Mercy. That’s what it sounds like as the wind blows through the chimes today. What do you hear?
Can you hear God’s tender mercy?
Your words of mercy echo in my spirit:
“I forgive you for what you have done.”
“You can start over. Begin again.”
“I’ll be there as you recover.”
“Trust that there’s a better way.”
“Try your best to not do that again.”
“I know you can change your ways.”
May I also speak your words of mercy
In my response to those who stray,
Fail and fall, and attempt to start over.
Bernadette farrell in Joyce Rupp. Fragments of Your Ancient Name: 365 Glimpses of the Divine for Daily Meditation. Kindle Edition.