Sunday 29 August 2021

Rich in Mercy - Pope Saint John Paul II - CTS Year of Mercy Reprint

Rich In Mercy
Year of Mercy
Pope Saint John Paul II
ISBN 9781784691080
CTS Booklet Do919

This is the seventh and I believe penultimate book in the CTS Year of Mercy series I have read. I picked all the eBooks of 6 up as soon as I finished the first one. Then I tracked down this and The Joy of Mercy  by Pope Francis and this one, that are both only available in physical booklets. Over the last several years, I have read over 200 volumes from the CTS. I have read books from many series, and many authors. I have read several books that are part of the CTS Devotions and Prayer Series. I have read many in the CTS Biographies and also Saints of the Isles Series, and the Great Saints Series. But Other than Living Fruitfully I believe this is the only series I have completed. The description of the booklet is:

“John Paul II tells the story of God's boundless mercy, beginning with the Old Testament and God's love shown in the history of the chosen people of God, through to the ultimate act of mercy: sending his son Jesus, our Redeemer. It is an excellent way to meditate on the meaning of mercy in the Year of Mercy. First published in 1980, this highly readable Encyclical Letter (Dives in Misericordia) is St John Paul's persuasive presentation of a God who throughout history has shown himself to be "rich in mercy".”

This is the booklet edition of the Encyclical Dives In Misericordia promulgated the First Sunday of Advent 1980, November 30th. This book was an excellent volume to read. The chapters in the volume are:

He Who Sees Me Sees the Father
     The revelation of mercy
     The incarnation of mercy
‘The Messianic Message
     When Christ began to act and to teach
The Old Testament
     The concept of “mercy” in the Old Testament
The Parable of the Prodigal Son
     An analogy
     Particular concentration on human dignity
The Paschal Mystery
     Mercy revealed in the cross and resurrection
     Love more powerful than death, more powerful than sin
     Mother of mercy
“Mercy … from Generation to Generation”
     An image of our generation      
     Sources of uneasiness
     Is justice enough?
The Mercy of God in the Mission of the Church
     The Church professes the mercy of God and proclaims it
     The church seeks to put mercy into practice
The Prayer of the Church in our Times
     The Church appeals to the mercy of God

Some of the many passages my first read through are:

“In Jesus Christ, every path to man, as it has been assigned once and for all to the Church in the changing context of the times, is simultaneously an approach to the Father and His love. The Second Vatican Council has confirmed this truth for our time.”

“Today I wish to say that openness to Christ, who as the Redeemer of the world fully reveals man himself," can only be achieved through an ever more mature reference to the Father and His love.”

“It is precisely here that "His invisible nature" becomes in a special way "visible," incomparably more visible than through all the other "things that have been made": it becomes visible in Christ and through Christ, through His actions and His words, and finally through His death on the cross and His resurrection.”

“The present-day mentality, more perhaps than that of people in the past, seems opposed to a God of mercy, and in fact tends to exclude from life and to remove from the human heart the very idea of mercy. The word and the concept of "mercy" seem to cause uneasiness in man, who, thanks to the enormous development of science and technology, never before known in history, has become the master of the earth and has subdued and dominated it.”

“Making the Father present as love and mercy is, in Christ's own consciousness, the fundamental touchstone of His mission as the Messiah; this is confirmed by the words that He uttered first in the synagogue at Nazareth and later in the presence of His disciples and of John the Baptist's messengers.”

“The concept of "mercy" in the Old Testament has a long and rich history. We have to refer back to it in order that the mercy revealed by Christ may shine forth more clearly. By revealing that mercy both through His actions and through His teaching, Christ addressed Himself to people who not only knew the concept of mercy, but who also, as the People of God of the Old Covenant, had drawn from their age - long history a special experience of the mercy of God. This experience was social and communal, as well as individual and interior.”

“In the preaching of the prophets, mercy signifies a special power of love, which prevails over the sin and infidelity of the chosen people.”

“Mercy differs from justice, but is not in opposition to it, if we admit in the history of man - as the Old Testament precisely does-the presence of God, who already as Creator has linked Himself to His creature with a particular love.”

“Nevertheless, the relationship between justice and love, that is manifested as mercy, is inscribed with great exactness in the content of the Gospel parable. It becomes more evident that love is transformed into mercy when it is necessary to go beyond the precise norm of justice-precise and often too narrow.”

“Mercy - as Christ has presented it in the parable of the prodigal son - has the interior form of the love that in the New Testament is called agape. This love is able to reach down to every prodigal son, to every human misery, and above all to every form of moral misery, to sin. When this happens, the person who is the object of mercy does not feel humiliated, but rather found again and "restored to value."”

“The genuine face of mercy has to be ever revealed anew. In spite of many prejudices, mercy seems particularly necessary for our times.”

“The history of our century offers many examples of this. In spite of all the declarations on the rights of man in his integral dimension, that is to say in his bodily and spiritual existence, we cannot say that these examples belong only to the past.”

“The Church must bear witness to the mercy of God revealed in Christ, in the whole of His mission as Messiah, professing it in the first place as a salvific truth of faith and as necessary for a life in harmony with faith, and then seeking to introduce it and to make it incarnate in the lives both of her faithful and as far as possible in the lives of all people of good will. Finally, the Church-professing mercy and remaining always faithful to it-has the right and the duty to call upon the mercy of God, imploring it in the face of all the manifestations of physical and moral evil, before all the threats that cloud the whole horizon of the life of humanity today.”

“Some theologians affirm that mercy is the greatest of the attributes and perfections of God, and the Bible, Tradition and the whole faith life of the People of God provide particular proofs of this.”

“The same Eucharistic rite, celebrated in memory of Him who in His messianic mission revealed the Father to us by means of His words and His cross, attests to the inexhaustible love by virtue of which He desires always to be united with us and present in our midst, coming to meet every human heart. It is the sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation that prepares the way for each individual, even those weighed down with great faults. In this sacrament each person can experience mercy in a unique way, that is, the love which is more powerful than sin.”

“Mercy that is truly Christian is also, in a certain sense, the most perfect incarnation of "equality" between people, and therefore also the most perfect incarnation of justice as well, insofar as justice aims at the same result in its own sphere. However, the equality brought by justice is limited to the realm of objective and extrinsic goods, while love and mercy bring it about that people meet one another in that value which is man himself, with the dignity that is proper to him. At the same time, "equality" of people through "patient and kind" love122 does not take away differences: the person who gives becomes more generous when he feels at the same time benefitted by the person accepting his gift; and vice versa, the person who accepts the gift with the awareness that, in accepting it, he too is doing good is in his own way serving the great cause of the dignity of the person; and this contributes to uniting people in a more profound manner.”

“It is obvious that such a generous requirement of forgiveness does not cancel out the objective requirements of justice. Properly understood, justice constitutes, so to speak, the goal of forgiveness. In no passage of the Gospel message does forgiveness, or mercy as its source, mean indulgence towards evil, towards scandals, towards injury or insult. In any case, reparation for evil and scandal, compensation for injury, and satisfaction for insult are conditions for forgiveness.”

“In analyzing the parable of the prodigal son, we have already called attention to the fact that he who forgives and he who is forgiven encounter one another at an essential point, namely the dignity or essential value of the person, a point which cannot be lost and the affirmation of which, or its rediscovery, is a source of the greatest joy.”

I hope those quotes will encourage you and challenge you to pick up and read this excellent work. At the beginning of the year of mercy I read Beautiful Mercy - Pope Francis et al. Experiencing God's Unconditional Love So We Can Share It With Others edited by Matthew Kelly. I wish I had been aware of this series and read them as they were coming out. I am thankful I came across them. Once I started reading them I wanted to read the whole series. The older I get the more I realize the importance of mercy. Both extending it to others, and accepting it when it is extended to us. The world would be a much better place to live, if we all strived to live more mercy. And if we brought the mercy of God to those who know him not. 

This is an excellent read, and wonderful volume. I greatly enjoyed the CTS Year of Mercy series. As I have stated in other reviews in the series, the Year of Mercy may be behind us, but these books will benefit those who read them. And if we are open they will have an impact on the family, friends, and communities of those who read these booklets and strive to live more mercy.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Year of Mercy Books:

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