, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

astonePope Francis has not only declared 2016 a “Holy Year of Mercy” but has opened up a vast well of meaning for a word that has often been seen as a synonym for pity and to describe our wretchedness as sinners. I hear and image Francis himself as God’s messenger and embodiment of the fullness of that term. In announcing to the world “I am a sinner,” Francis displays no fear or despair in that acknowledgment but always seems confident in his relationship with the God who is always willing to bring us back to a loving embrace. Psalm 86 exudes that confidence this morning, beginning with a call to God to incline your ear, O Lord and have mercy…Listen to my favorite translation (below) – for best effect, read aloud.

My God, stoop down to me, and putting close your ear, let me speak my poverty, my misery of life to you – and then, I beg you, whisper back your answer clear. I am your faithful servant and I trust you, Lord, to keep a watchful eye upon my path of life. Treat me with greatest mercy and most tender care, for you, my God, are all I have; there is no one else but you to whom I speak throughout the day. So I lift my soul to you that you would flood my heart with secret joy. For in your presence goodness flows as constant as a stream, forgiving me. This is the essence of your love for anyone who calls to you.