Year of Mercy: Gospel Attentiveness

(13) If we are to be merciful as God is merciful, we must pay attention to the Father, as Jesus himself did (John 5:19).  In the Christian tradition, we practice Gospel attentiveness through reading and reflecting on Scripture.

In its essence this means that our mercy flows from the prior revelation of God’s mercy.  We discover that revelation through the practice of Lectio Divina–a prayerful reading of the Bible that moves us to meditate on a particular portion of what we have read, embrace it, and put it into practice.

For example, when we read and discover God’s mercy given to the poor, we are moved by the Spirit to consider how we show mercy to the poor through our own servanthood and stewardship.  Lectio Divina ends with the prayer, “God, help me enact in my life what I have found in your Word.”

And when it comes to  expressing mercy, it is mercy itself (hesed) which enables us to be merciful.  Even the desire to be merciful is made possible by God’s mercy (grace) at work in us.  From start to finish, it is all about grace–not of works, lest we should boast.

Pope Francis calls us to create silent times in our lives–times when we can contemplate God’s mercy using Lectio, and then (as he says) “adopt it as our lifestyle.”

[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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