As Pilgrims we end the Year of Mercy

img_20161014_141817As many commentators have remarked, what an extra-ordinary time it’s recently been in the USA! The Cubs win the World Series, the Cavaliers win the NBA championship, Bob Dylan wins a Nobel Prize, and Donald Trump is elected President of the United States. Did the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy (ending this Sunday) have anything to do with these events? Only God knows, but what is for certain is that the graces of the Jubilee Year have worked the most important miracles, on the inside of persons: conversions; acts of generosity and compassion; expansion of the sacramental life of the Church; and a particularly powerful World Youth Day in the land of St. John Paul II.

Since the first official Jubilee Year in the Church (1300), Popes and all the people have enjoyed the celebrations from the perspective of the interior life, and particularly in repentance from sin. As EWTN reports on the first Jubilee:

On Christmas 1299, in the wake of much suffering from war and plague, many people came to Rome, to repent at the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul. In response, Pope Boniface VII proclaimed a “year of forgiveness of all sins”. 1300 was thus the first ordinary Jubilee year.

While the places of pilgrimage for this Year of Mercy have been easier to get to than St. Peter’s Basilica (like St. Paul Cathedral in Pittsburgh, pictured) the spiritual effects of traversing the holy doors, getting to confession, and praying for the Pope and the Church were just the same: forgiveness of sin; a chance to begin again in one’s spiritual life, and a renewed desire to serve God and persons around us. We need to give thanks to God for this very special time of grace in the Church, and end it well, as Pilgrims strengthened by Our Lord’s Divine Mercy. Whatever resolutions you have made during the Year of Mercy, now is the time to make them specific, and like a good Pilgrim, keep moving.

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