Yesterday I spent the day with the majority of the Sisters of St. Joseph in the Albany Province listening to and interacting with Fr. Michael Crosby, a Capuchin Franciscan friar, who has become over the past several decades a strong voice for justice and spirituality not only in our Church but for the world. As we move toward the conclusion of the “Year of Mercy” we could not have a better companion and beacon of light to help us understand the nuances in the Scriptures and in our lives for the practice of mercy. Steeped in the gospels, Father Mike used especially the example of the Good Samaritan and broke it open in ways that were new and challenging. In addition, he presented us with the text of last week’s general audience of Pope Francis (10/12/16) which focused hearers on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. For those of us who are sometimes overwhelmed by conditions in the world that seem beyond our power to change, the following words of Pope Francis gave a challenge but also the possibility of a way forward.
[Jesus] taught his disciples: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36) It is a commitment that challenges the conscience and action of every Christian. In fact, it is not enough to experience God’s mercy in one’s life; it is necessary that whoever receives it becomes also a sign and instrument of it for others. Moreover, mercy is not reserved only for particular moments, but it embraces the whole of our daily existence.
How then can we be witnesses of mercy? We do not think that it has to do with making great efforts or superhuman gestures. No, it is not like this. The Lord indicates to us a much simpler way, made up of little gestures, which, however, in His eyes, have great value… (emphasis mine)
The point is, is seems, to become ever more conscious of others and their needs, never allowing indifference to be our mode of operating but practicing kindness that will fund the well of compassion building in the world. In this hope, in this communion, is our peace.