Prayer may help our jubilee efforts at mercy


How’s your Year of Mercy going?

The question comes to mind now after someone pointed out that from the start he had liked the idea of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. But a while ago, almost five months into the
jubilee year, he realised that despite what he felt, what he was doing had actually changed very little.

But then, seemingly by accident, he learned something important.


At the Pope’s May 4 general audience, Francis recalled that the month of May is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and he asked young people to pray the Rosary daily, and called upon the sick to turn to Mary.

Addressing Polish pilgrims, he said that “God gives to your nation, through the Virgin Mary, an admirable help and protection, so that, thanks to her intercession, the faith may enjoy continuing freedom and your homeland may develop in peace”.

Our friend pondering the Year of Mercy and his relative failure to date also commented on the Rosary, and how it had changed everything.

He had a particular need that had been on his heart for some time. It eventually occurred to him to bring it to prayer through a more concentrated focus on the Rosary. He said two remarkable things had since happened.

One was that the need that had been worrying him, although it had not disappeared, no longer nagged at him. It was as though a certainty had come that it would be taken care of. The second was that he quite quickly found he was able to be more at ease and merciful than he had been before.

The Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy began on December 8 last year and runs to the Feast of Christ the King, November 20, this year. It is seen as a time for remission of sins and universal pardon focusing especially on God’s forgiveness and mercy. And it is called an extraordinary jubilee because it had not been predetermined long before; usually ordinary jubilees occur every 25 years.

For our friend, the insight that a change in his prayer habits had to accompany what he also felt about the Jubilee Year was significant. We are all different, and that may not be so for all of us, especially if we already have rich prayer lives.

When NZ Catholic attended the requiem Mass of Bishop Barry Jones of Christchurch at St Mary’s Procathedral in February this year, our representative was taken under the wing of parish council chairman Syd Kennedy.

When NZ Catholic’s seat in St Mary’s was taken over by others, Mr Kennedy found a better seat, at the front. On an exceptionally warm day, he took NZ Catholic to the cemetery for the interment, stopping at a dairy for rehydration on the way, then to the afternoon tea that
followed. Asked about getting to the airport, our rep. said “bus or taxi”, and Mr Kennedy nodded in affirmation. But he later delivered our person to the airport anyway.

Of course I do this, he said when thanked. It’s the Year of Mercy.

To get back to prayer; Scripture shows Our Lord more than once stressing the need for persistence in prayer. Our friend referred to above found peace and certainty through a significant change in prayer. But he found more; he also found change in himself. And if
he changes for the better, then he surely is influencing others for the better?

What a lesson for us all to take to heart.

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Michael Otto

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