Advent’s Journey to Mercy

On the Road

Today, filled with good intentions, became complicated. Each piece I picked up to do wandered off into several more without entirely completing the first. And so, circled back to complete.

Yesterday, I pulled out the Kathleen Norris book, The Cloister Walk. I found it when cleaning out a bookcase and gathering unnecessary books for donation. Cliff gave it to me a week after my ordination according to his note on the frontispiece.

In one of the early pages, Norris quotes a piece from Jeremiah: I have loved you with an age-old love…Again I will build you, and you shall be built.

So, after several more circles around other events, I finally sat down to read Jeremiah. By the way, if you ever want an excellent reference edition of the bible, look at The Catholic Study Bible. It has impeccable scholarship and loads of notes.

When I randomly opened the chapter, the grief lay bare: Over the mountains, break out in cries of lamentation, over pasture lands, intone a dirge…why is the land ravaged, scorched like a wasteland untraversed…

And I thought of the thousands of years we humans have fought with and at each other.

The section I’d turned to recounted grief and worry.

You would be in the right, O Lord, if I should dispute with you; even so, I must discuss the case with you. As in really? We really have to go through all this to get to wherever we’re going next?

Would that I had in the desert a traveler’s lodge! That I might leave my people and depart from them.

Who knew Jeremiah could be so drolly funny.

And then, for some reason which I can’t remember, I went on the Internet to look something up and this is what I found:

Pope Francis pushed open the great bronze doors of St. Peter’s Basilica on Tuesday, Dec 8, 2015, to launch his Holy Year of Mercy.

A holy year of mercy.

It’s almost too big to think about.

I don’t know what big thing I can do. What I can do is be kind. What I can do, while staying informed, is not buy-in to the political hype or the hysteria or the verbal fuselage of anger and despair.

A holy year of mercy. What could be more astounding, regardless of our creed or beliefs, than a year of mercy to and with one another.

It’s dark at this time of year where I live; and then it’s Solstice and light; and then it’s Holy Days and light; and then it’s another year.

I think I’ll start the New Year today and enter a Year of Mercy.

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