The Year of Mercy was transferred by Jesus from Jewish culture to Christianity. He said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, and proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” Luke 4:18-19
- In 1300 Pope Boniface introduced the first Jubilee, to be repeated every 100yrs.
- In 1450 Pope Nicholas introduced the opening of the Holy Door in St John Lateran Basilica, Rome.
- In 1475, Pope Sixtus reduced the interval to 25yrs.
- In 2016, Pope Francis, intending to bring the Year of Mercy to all of God’s people, permitted Dioceses to have their own Holy Door.
The Jubilee is a time for conversion. It should not be taken for granted. It could be our last chance of repentance and remission of punishment for our sins. As Jesus warned in the parable of the fruitless fig tree: “Leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilise it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, cut it down.” (Lk 13:8-9)
What Pope Francis asks:
Pope Francis asks us to, “Rediscover the richness gained… by works of mercy,” and gain the accompanying Plenary Indulgence. The works of Mercy are both Spiritual and Corporal (Physical).
What is a Plenary Indulgence?
It’s, “A remission before God of the punishment for sins whose guilt has already been forgiven”. It’s achieved, “By turning to God in prayer, penance and works of mercy”.
What are the Spiritual Works of Mercy?
There are seven which we should perform to the best of our capacity and means.
1. To instruct those who don’t know about God:
“Whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven”. (M 5:19)
2. To counsel the doubtful:
“Where there is no guidance, a person fails, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety”. (Proverbs 11:14)
3. To admonish sinners:
“You should correct the sinner in a gentle spirit”. (Gal 6:1)
4. To bear wrongs patiently:
“Love is patient and kind”. (1 Cor 13:4)
5. To forgive offences willingly:
“If you forgive other people, your heavenly Father will forgive you”. (Mt 6:14)
6. To comfort the afflicted:
“That we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction”. (2 Cor 1:3-4)
7. To pray for the living and the dead:
“To pray for the dead is a holy and pious thought”. (2 Macc 12:44-45)
What are the Corporal Works of Mercy?
There are seven which we should perform to the best of our capacity and means. The more we love, the more sympathetic we become to the unfortunate.
1. To feed the hungry
2. To give drink to the thirsty
3. To clothe the naked
4. To welcome the strangers
5. To attend to the sick
6. To visit the prisoners
7. To attend to the dead
How can I receive the Plenary Indulgence?
You must visit a designated Church and perform four deeds:
2. Participate in the Holy Mass and receive Holy Communion
3. Pray for the Pope’s intentions
4. Fulfil a corporal or spiritual Work of Mercy
… Almighty God: Have Mercy on Me, a Sinner …