December 2015 Members’ Call
Discovering God’s Mercy

Beth Mahoney, Spirituality Commission Chair

Opening prayer – Prayer for Jubilee Year of Mercy

The Home – A First Aid Station for Families…..
What does that mean?
Let’s consider some ways that we bring mercy, reconciliation, healing and forgiveness to the family.

Today we can think of the Church as a “field hospital”
Pope Francis: Excuse me, but I repeat it, because this is how I see it, how I feel it is a “field Hospital:.
Wounds need to be treated, so many wounds! So many wounds! There are so many people who are wounded by material problems, by scandals, also in the Church…People wounded by the world's Illusions…
Mercy first means treating the wounds. When someone is wounded, he needs this immediately, not tests, such as the level of cholesterol or sugar …specialized treatments can be done but first we need to treat the open wound.
I think this is what is most important at this time. And there are also hidden wounds, because there are people who distance themselves in order to avoid showing their wounds closer.
Mercy first means treating the wounds.
So how is this is done within the home?

In his first Angelus address as the Bishop of Rome, March 17, 2013, Francis spoke of “Feeling mercy...this word changes everything.”
Mercy, he said then, “is the best thing we can feel: it changes the world. A little mercy makes the world less cold and more just. We need to understand properly this mercy of God, this merciful Father who is so patient.
Since the beginning of his pontificate over 2 years ago, he has witnessed to the spiritual (counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish sinners, comfort the afflicted, forgive offences, bear patiently with those who do us ill and praying for the living and the dead) and corporal (feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned and bury the dead ) works of mercy and to what it is to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Pope
Francis has opened a barber shop at the Vatican, visited the poorest section in Brazil and asked European parishes to take in a refugee family.
SO within this Jubilee Year of Mercy – we look at the home as a 1st aid station.

Pope Francis has given us a special grace filled year. This Jubilee Year of Mercy will begin on December 8, 2015 the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The following Sunday December 13, the third Sunday in Advent, Holy Doors will be opened at the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran and in Cathedrals around the world. There will be many highlights throughout the year. To name a couple: there will be a sending forth of the Missionaries of Mercy on Ash Wednesday, and the important event of World Youth Day, which will take place in Krakow, Poland. The theme is “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Mt 5:7).Along with these events there will be special jubilee days dedicated to groups of people within the Church, including Jubilees for Consecrated Life, for children, the sick and for catechists. The year will end on November 20, 2016, the Feast of Christ the King.

Spiritual Works of Mercy
Counsel the doubtful,
Instruct the ignorant,
Admonish sinners,
Comfort the afflicted,
Forgive offences,
Bear patiently with those who do us ill
Praying for the living and the dead

We live this Spiritual works of Mercy within the family
Personal Story: Airplane – put the oxygen mask on yourself them on the children and those who need help.

Corporal works of mercy
Feed the hungry,
Give drink to the thirsty,
Clothe the naked,
Welcome the stranger,
Heal the sick,
Visit the imprisoned
Bury the dead


Sometimes these Corporal works of Mercy – begins within the home
Personal Story: Brother came by – Dad just out of hospital – made dinner for him
I was in college – Dad what are you doing – as long as I can feed my son – I will do just that

The Home: a first aid station
The Holy Family – Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Difficulty at the birth of their child
Lost as a teenager
Made fun of as an adult
Beaten and killed

Mary
Mother
Felt pain for her Son
Mourned her Son
Rejoiced with her Son
United with her Son

Joseph
Father
Taught his Son
Shared life with his Son
Prayed with his Son
Work with his Son

Jesus
Son
Played with his parents
Worked with his parents
Celebrated life with his parents
Brought sorrow and joy to their lives

Examples in the life of Jesus
Finding of Jesus in the temple
Parents understanding the will of God in their son’s life
Child respecting his parents – understand the will of God.

Examples: Son graduates from college – doesn’t work in the family business
Goes to the missions to work in a clinic
Teaches us understanding in our families. Children must respect their parents but also must follow God’s will for their life. Parents must respect God’s will for their children.

Wedding at Cana
Mother gives confidence to her son

Examples: referee basketball while in college
Same confidence Mary had for her son – my dad had with me
Encourage your children

Pentecost
Mary with the apostles
Giving strength

Parent’ death – feel the spirit - believe in guidance
Struggled not to forget them but then felt their guiding spirit and knew it would last through her life.

Let’s look within our own families
Mercy
Forgiveness
Healing –How we encounter the Holy Family; First Aid Station of Mercy
My own life – 6 cousins killed by drink drivers – 4 in the same car – 2 others in separate accidents
One cousin: killed we had the opportunity to visit with the driver who killed him – it was a moment of sharing God’s Mercy – Forgiveness and Healing.

Holy Family
All three loved each other – prayed with each other.
Our families are holy and struggle. Need mercy and need to bring forgiveness to each other

How many of you think that you do not come from a holy family? - That your life style could never produce a holy family.

You do come from a holy family – you are a holy family

You play with your children
You teach your children
You share joys and sorrows with your children
Your children learn from you
Your children share life with you
Your children need you - whether they admit to it or not

You all share love for and with each other…you pray with each other and for each other

Is it perfect? Probably not – but your family is holy….
Holy is defined as - separate or different
To be holy is to - rejoice in oneself and in the gift of life.
Holiness includes concepts such as humor and laughter, compassion and understanding, capacity to forgive and to be forgiven, to love and to be loved.

That person that you see each morning – could be your path to closeness with God and may be as close as you will ever get to God on earth.

Participant offering: She and her husband are blessed to be parents of a child in the autism spectrum. They practice mercy with her many times. Moments when she is full of fear, anger and doubt and that is when they remind her of her goals. It is tough to live like this as they have to do this almost every day. It is exhausting but still they do it. Such things bring us closer to understanding the mercy of God.

Pope John Paul II in his AP letter on the Most Holy Rosary states:
Individual family members, in turning their eyes towards Jesus, also regain the ability to look one another in the eye, to communicate, to show solidarity, to forgive one another and to see their covenant of love renewed in the Spirit of God.

If you are already praying together as a family - I rejoice with you…
If you have tried and tried and are having difficulties - I pray for the grace of perseverance…

If you have never tried - I pray for the grace of courage to begin….

Begin small – one prayer
After a little while - add a prayer or read a passage from scripture

There are meal prayer cards that you can buy and have on your table – each take a turn reading the prayer

Prayer is communication with God – communication with each other in the presence of God

The Family That Prays Together Stays together

Family Prayer suggestions
1. Glass bowl on dinner table – place intentions - family members pick one in the morning and pray throughout the day
2. Prepare a sacred space in the house – it becomes the 1st aid station
     a. Safe haven – to talk - express themselves etc.
3. Visit a shrine together and pray as a family
4. Consider going on the Pilgrimage to France - NCCW
5. Dinner – in the car - at a restaurant – ask a question
     a. Significant moment in the day
     b. Struggle in the day
6. Offer to organize a family night in your parish – bring a family with you
7. Volunteer at a soup kitchen
8. Help with a food drive – St. Vincent de Paul just worked one with the scouts
     a. Bring the family
9. Invite someone to your home for a meal

What ideas, suggestions, and thoughts do you have for the Jubilee Year of Mercy?
(Invite participants to share….)
-Dioceses celebrating opening the doors at the cathedrals. Participate as a Council in the opening or go as a group later.
-Green Bay Diocesan Board pilgrimage to Our Lady of Good Health –the only officially approved apparition
-Co-sponsor Divine Mercy in Prayer and Action Day
-Send cards for the Year of Mercy to seminarians, shut ins, when visiting different Christian women groups
-Hold a Mercy Conference

     Resources

NCCW prayer book
Our Sunday Visitor
     A year of mercy with Pope Francis
     Pastoral resources for Living the Jubilee
          The Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy
          The Parables of Mercy
          Mercy in the Fathers of the Church
          The Saints of Mercy
          The Psalms of Mercy
          Celebrating Mercy
          Confession: The Sacrament of Mercy
          Mercy in the teachings of the Popes

     Mercy – A Bible Study Guide for Catholics – Fr. Mitch

Web sites:
NCCW
USCCB – search Jubilee Year of Mercy
OSV
EWTN
Salt n light
Sisters of Reparation to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Your own diocesan web sites

Final Prayer – Psalm 57
Wish all a most blessed Advent and a very Merry Christmas!