Becoming Ministers of Mercy

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Little Rock Connections: The Good News for Today
February 2016

Welcome to the monthly Little Rock Connections: The Good News for Today email. This is a new format for articles and up-to-date events from Little Rock Scripture Study. We hope you enjoy this and will let us know what you’d like to read and hear about.

Time to Plan

Becoming Ministers of Mercy

Susan McCarthy, RDC

If you have had the opportunity to observe those lining up to receive ashes on Ash Wednesday, I hope you have witnessed, as I have, the great hunger and thirst in their eyes for the touch of God in their lives. Might we dare say the mercy of God in their lives? It is mercy that Pope Francis wishes us to commit to during this Jubilee Year of Mercy which began on December 8 and continues until November 20, 2016.

In issuing the papal bull, Misericordiae Vultus, he spoke of it in these words, “How much I desire that the year to come will be steeped in mercy, so that we can go out to every man and woman, bringing the goodness and tenderness of God.” He wrote, “May the balm of mercy reach everyone, both believers and those far away, as a sign that the kingdom of God is already present in our midst.”

Mercy or compassion is what we offer to someone who has offended or harmed us. But it goes deeper than that. We are called to recognize that there is a need for understanding and forgiveness even if the other party may be unaware of this need. Mercy implies a turning away from punishment even when justice allows for it. Mercy is what was prescribed to us by the prophet Micah,

 “You have been told, O mortal, what is good;
   and what the LORD requires of you:
 Only to do justice, and to love goodness,
   and to walk humbly with your God. (Mic 6:8)

The season of Lent that begins this month offers us the opportunity to practice mercy in our daily lives. We might begin by first identifying some of the people hurting in our world, our towns and cities, even in our homes. Who are those most in need of our mercy? We know about the refugees, the unemployed and those who are down in their luck. What about those with terminal illness and those who are growing fragile? What about those who feel alienated and estranged from our Church communities?

To help us in our practice we are guided by the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. The corporal works consist of feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, visiting the imprisoned, giving drink to the thirsty and burying the dead. The spiritual works are: converting sinners, instructing the ignorant, advising the doubtful, comforting the sorrowful, bearing wrongs patiently, forgiving injuries and praying for the living and dead.

How wonderful if we might emerge from the forty days of Lent as true ministers of mercy.

In his weekly audience (November 18, 2015) Pope Francis suggested that we might “… learn from concierges, porters and doormen around the world, who always smile and make people feel welcome and at home.”

If we can do this we will be living out the prophetic anointing experienced by Jesus:

 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to
 bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to
 captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed
 go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” (Luke 4:18)


February 4-6, 2016
Mid-Atlantic Conference
Baltimore, MD

February 26-28, 2016
Los Angeles Religious Education Congress
Anaheim, CA


February 20, 2016
Informational Workshop
Diocese of Rockville Center
West Islip, NY
Learn more

Join us June 17-19, 2016. LRSS’ Annual Bible Institute will be held at St. John Catholic Center In Little Rock. The Rev. Garrett Galvin, OFM, will address the topic of “The Message of Mercy: The Biblical Roots of Pope Francis’ Teachings.” The registration brochure will be on the LRSS website later this month.

A Biblical Year of Mercy

Download a monthly article and reflection questions for free use in your parishes; link to your parish website; send them to friends.

For more information about workshops, Little Rock Connections, or to offer suggestions, or submit items, please contact:

Susan McCarthy, RDC
(501) 366-5691

Little Rock Scripture Study
P.O. Box 7565
Little Rock AR 72217

Little Rock Scripture Study

Little Rock Scripture Study, 2950 Saint John's Road, PO Box 7500, Collegeville, MN 56321
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