Meditations on Mercy: First Session

Gathering Prayer (3-5 minutes)

Use the Prayer of Pope Francis for the Jubilee of Mercy:

Lord Jesus Christ,
you have taught us to be merciful like the
heavenly Father,
and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him.
Show us your face and we will be saved.
Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew
from being enslaved by money;
the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness
only in created things;
made Peter weep after his betrayal,
and assured Paradise to the repentant thief.
Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us,
the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman:
"If you knew the gift of God!"

You are the visible face of the invisible Father,
of the God who manifests his power above all by
forgiveness and mercy:
let the Church be your visible face in the world, its
Lord risen and glorified.
You willed that your ministers would also be
clothed in weakness
in order that they may feel compassion for those
in ignorance and error:
let everyone who approaches them feel sought
after, loved, and forgiven by God.
Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us
with its anointing,
so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace
from the Lord,
and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may
bring good news to the poor,
proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed,
and restore sight to the blind.
We ask this of you, Lord Jesus, through the intercession
of Mary, Mother of Mercy; you who live and reign with the Father
and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.


Introductions Among Group Members

(5-10 minutes)

Introduction to Jubilee of Mercy and the Meditations

(Read aloud to group participants, approximately 3 minutes)

The Jubilee of Mercy is a time for us to recall that God is the source of mercy and that he is the impetus behind all of our merciful actions toward others. In discussing this Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis has continually emphasized the need for all Christians to transform their hearts and lives so they become a reflection of God's mercy. As the motto for the Jubilee states, we should strive to be "merciful like the Father." We are called to experience a deeper appreciation for and acknowledgment of God's mercy working in our lives, our communities, and our world. This call to mercy must be manifested in our actions, which witness to others the merciful love and compassion Of God.

One way of living out this call to mercy in our lives is through our prayers and actions. These Meditations on Mercy provide us with an opportunity to explore God's mercy, love, and compassion in Scripture. Our reflections can bear fruit in our lives and in the lives of those around us. What we discover about God's abundant mercy, we should share with others through our actions of mercy. Each month, we will work toward an act of mercy—through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, making a pilgrimage to the Holy Door in our diocese, celebrating the sacraments of the Church, or other acts.

December's Meditation on Mercy

(15-20 minutes)
  • Read the scripture passage.
  • Read parts of the relevant passages from Misericordiae Vultus (the ones cited in the reflection; optional).
  • Read the meditation aloud.
  • Discuss the reflection questions.

Mercy in Motion

(10-15 minutes)
  • Pick a corporal or spiritual work of mercy to do in the coming month, together or separately.
  • Read the monthly Moments of Mercy reflection. These works of mercy should respond to the needs of your local community. Discuss how this relates to your discussion on the meditation. Don't forget to share pictures or your thoughts on your experience on social media @USCCB, #mercyinmotion.

Closing Prayer

(5-7 minutes)
  • Assemble intentions and reflections from this week's gathering.
  • This can vary in format from month to month, depending on the needs of the group.