Year of Mercy: Mother of Mercy

(24) Pope Francis heads toward the end of his writing as is often the style for Roman Christians–by including Mary in the document as not only an example of mercy in her own right, but also as one who prays from heaven that we will become more merciful here on earth.

From the depth of her experience, Mary “attests that the mercy of the Son of God knows no bounds and extends to everyone without exception.”  Similarly, the Pope invokes the prayers of the saints, who themselves lived lives of mercy across the earth over the centuries.

As a Protestant Christian, I do not invoke the prayers of Mary and the saints in the same way Roman Christians do, but like them, I believe we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1)–a “great cloud” that is aware of and concerned for us as we take our turn running the race set before us–a “great cloud” encouraging us to faithfulness in our day as they were in theirs.  Mary is surely among them.

Whatever that actually means in the Mystery that exists between the Church invisible and the Church visible, one thing is sure:  if we are to be people of mercy: we need all the help we can get!  So yes, saints pray for us!

[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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