Pope Francis has proclaimed an Extraordinary Jubilee year of mercy as an invitation for all people to experience the merciful love of God.

My mind cannot comprehend the number of questions that arise about this particular subject: namely “MERCY”

As a postulant, I have to think out of the box instead of just the inside.

Since December 8, 2015, the opening of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, everyone is focusing on their relationship with their neighbors. I, on the other hand will focus on our life as ‘Consecrated Religious’.

For me, it is evident that mercy is an act coming from within and going outward. It is like turning the habit inside out! (For instance)

Mercy is at the heart of our life as consecrated religious. There is no better place to experience God’s mercy than in the community. Why? First of all, we did not choose each other to come together as a community. God did! And He has a great sense of humor!  We all came from different parts of the world; Slovakia, Croatia, America and Samoa (not counting the multitude in Europe.) Secondly, community is like the ocean, which carries the variety of fish with different species. That is our Personalities!!!

Each of us are unique! And in the community we each brought our own uniqueness, and with this, we require MERCY! Putting up with each other is an act of Mercy.

Mercy flows from the heart of one person, through the heart of the father, who is merciful.

The three evangelical counsels: chastity, poverty and obedience are the key to Mercy. Simply the vows are our promise to our spouse to live this life totally and dedicated to Him with an undivided love from our heart to His, and from His to everyone we encounter daily. In other words, it’s a give and take – Mercy.

After reading an article about the year of Mercy, I came across the three requirements:

  1. Pilgrimage
  2. Holy Door
  3. Indulgence

I was puzzled because in my mind I would have to do all this in order to gain the graces from God. In fact, I have already been to one holy door and one pilgrimage this year, and… been to confession! Yay! I gained indulgence!

Well, that’s not my point. I took it very hard and meditated upon it. To my surprise the Lord revealed these three requirements in this way.

Pilgrimage: As a community, we are all pilgrims. We are from all over the world making our pilgrimage to the Father of Mercy, our Triune God. Our community is on pilgrimage. We proceed from a mystery, God, and we on our way towards a mystery, God. Along our journey we are accompanied and illuminated by Christ the light of the world. “I am the way… I am the light.”

The Holy Door: The Church is a sign of the House of God, and so our hearts as well. We, as consecrated women, we seek to follow our Divine Lord with firm faith and true fidelity. Receiving Him in the Eucharist is opening our Holy Door for Him to come and dwell, to come and feast with us, like he did with the tax collectors in the Gospel of Matthew… “I desire Mercy, not sacrifice.” On the contrary, we too have to open our Holy Door which is our hearts to each sisters. To accept them. Again, Mercy! Vice Versa! It’s Contradict!

Opening our Holy Door (Hearts) to one another is by means of listening, accepting, feel their pain, be there for her, feed her with spiritual food and allowing one’s self to go the extra mile. This is Mercy!

Indulgence: Last but not least, indulgence, St. John Paul II wrote in the Bull Incarnations Mysterium (9) that the indulgence is one of the constitutive elements of the jubilee. The indulgence discloses the fullness of the Father’s Mercy who offers everyone His love, expressed primarily in the forgiveness of sin. It is precisely in the context that the indulgence becomes important since it is an expression of the total gift of Mercy from God.

Again, we seek God’s total gift through the sacrament of reconciliation to obtain for us the graces that He has in store for us.

As we contemplate MERCY this year, let us think about our own environment, before we think about others’. Starts with ourselves, then to our neighbors. Who’s our neighbor? Simple, they are the ones that are sharing the same food you eat, daily. The ones that we prayed with. Believe it or not, they are the most in need of our mercy! They count on you and I for love, comfort, compassion and best of all our relationship! That is the beauty of our lives as consecrated religious.

Let’s reach out to each sister, and make the most of it this Extraordinary Year of Mercy!