Year of Mercy: Fortress Abolished

(4) Pope Francis declares mercy to be the means for the Church to break out of a fortress mentality.  Mercy makes the Church “a”living sign of the Father’s love in the world.”

I cannot think of anything more needed in the Church than this.  It is beyond dispute that a fortress mentality has increased the past few years.  Pope Francis has rightly named the new-fundamentalism in the Church (characterized by, among other things, the absence of mercy) as a diseased manifestation of religion in the world today.  It is sickening Christians and infecting the Christian witness.

Mercy, on the other hand, propels us outside the Church (ideologically and institutionally), locating the Christian message and ministry in the world for which Christ died.  The fortress is abolished, and the Church offers “the medicine of mercy” to the world.

All this flows from our communion with the risen Christ, the One who is the source of mercy and sustains us in all of our ministries of mercy.  We can trust the Holy Spirit to guide our steps to those people, places, and situations where God’s mercy is needed. 

[Note: the numbers at the beginning of each meditation correspond to the section of the Pope’s document on which it is based]

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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