To My Dear Augustinian Brothers and All Members of Our Augustinian Family,
Pope Francis, in the Bull of Indiction for the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, Misericordiae vultus, wrote that:
Today, December 8, 2015, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the 50th Anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Francis will open a Holy Door in St. Peter's Basilica that remains sealed except during Jubilee Years.
When he crosses the threshold, this door will become a "Door of Mercy," and will remain so until November 20, 2016, the Feast of Christ the King, when he will close the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
During this Year, Pope Francis hopes people will become more merciful in their own lives and bring God's mercy to others. He reminds us that mercy is not opposed to justice but rather expresses God's way of reaching out to the sinner, offering a new opportunity to look within, convert, and believe. God's justice is mercy!
Perhaps during this year, you will:
- Reflect on God's Mercy,
- Refrain from judging or condemning others,
- Learn to seek forgiveness and let go of past hurts and forgive,
- Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation,
- Reflect on Gospel passages such as the Prodigal Son, the Lost Sheep and the Good Samaritan, and
- Practice the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy.
The Holy Year of Mercy, will in fact be the first in the era of Internet and of social media. In this regards, I would like to draw your attention to the importance of the official website of the Jubilee. This site, translated into seven languages, will permit those who cannot be physically present to follow the Major Jubilee events that will take place in Rome.
Sincerely in Christ and St. Augustine,
Very Rev. Bernard C. Scianna, O.S.A., Ph.D.
Pope Francis's Prayer for the Jubilee of Mercy
Lord Jesus Christ,
you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father,
and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him.
Show us your face and we will be saved.
Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money;
the adultress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things; made Peter weep after his betrayal,
and assured Paradise to the repentant thief.
Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman: "If you knew the gift of God!"
You are the visible face of the invisible Father,
of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy:
let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.
You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness
in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error:
let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God.
Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing,
so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord,
and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor,
proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed, and restore sight to the blind.
We ask this through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy,
you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.