The Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M. and the Jubilee Year of Mercy

There are many themes to dwell on today. We are in Advent, awaiting the incarnate Mercy of God: our Saviour, Jesus Christ. It is the feast of Mary’s conception: the first being created since the Fall without the stain of Original Sin on her soul, a unique and beautiful mercy shown her who was to be the Mother of God. And it is the opening of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, with its call to experience anew the mercy of God and share that mercy with others.

You will find the web site for the Year of Mercy here. There is also a logo you will find displayed at various times:
Year of Mercy logoA search in the sidebar of this blog will reveal several entries for the Immaculate Conception, including a brief explanation of what the doctrine of the Church actually is here. What I want to think about this morning, however, is more general: the nature of mercy itself.

We all know that the word ‘mercy’ comes from the Old French merci (= thanks) and derives ultimately from the Latin merces (= reward) but I wonder whether we make the connection between showing mercy and ourselves being rewarded? We tend to think of mercy as being something the one who is shown mercy should be grateful for; and in the case of the mercy shown us by God, that is surely indisputable. But the mercy we show others? Do we ever recognize that being able to show mercy, being given the grace to show mercy, is something we should be equally grateful for, as it is a gift given to us — a reward we haven’t earned, a blessing we don’t deserve, a sharing in the joy of the jubilee.