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Brooklyn Diocese on a Mission of Mercy

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By Melanie Williams (Jun 20, 2016)
Are you a missionary of mercy? This extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy has been making a huge impact upon dioceses across the world, and the Diocese of Brooklyn has been making it its "mission of mercy" to preach the message of mercy more effectively and increase corporal and spiritual works of mercy in their diocese. To inspire his flock in this mission, Bishop Nicholas Demarzio brought five buses of pilgrims to the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, on Eden Hill, this past weekend.

"The Year of Mercy has made me stop and think about preaching the message of mercy more effectively, more frequently," Bishop Demarzio said. "People need God's mercy. People are really enthused about this [Jubilee Year]. We have our own Holy Doors, but we know that the Shrine has a Holy Door here, so we wanted to come. We know that the year is inspired in a large way by St. Faustina, so we are looking for way to honor her, to understand her message a bit more."

He said, "Mercy is the face of God, which is Christ. That's what the Holy Father has taught us. Mercy is Christ Himself. We understand that message of forgiveness and that God wants us to be with Him. That's His desire, nothing should be lost — no one should be lost."

How is that message of mercy to be lived out in our daily lives? Bishop Demarzio preached on this in a Votive Mass of the Mercy of God that he celebrated at Eden Hill's Mother of Mercy Outdoor Shrine.

Bishop Demarzio exhorted the congregation, "how important it is that we see mercy coming from the Heart of Christ. The very word for mercy in Latin, Misericordia, is two words: misery and heart. The misery and the love of the divine Heart is what assures us that there is mercy for all those who seek mercy, as we come today to seek God's mercy in our own lives."

He said, "Sister Faustina reminds us that there are two ways in which the saints find perfection. First is through obedience, because Jesus told us that we must be perfect as the Heavenly Father is perfect and that we must conform ourselves to the divine will. Second, the saints find perfection through mercy because mercy is the way of giving assistance to others. Sister Faustina tell us, 'My true rest is in the service of my neighbor. Help me Lord, that my heart may be merciful so that I, myself, might feel all of the sufferings of my neighbor'" (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 163).

In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, have you recognized the call of Jesus in your neighbor who is suffering? Bishop Dimarzio taught that it is often the one who is most different from us who we do not recognize as our neighbor, but we are to take after the example of the Good Samaritan in the Gospel of St. Luke (10:25-37).

"The neighbor is not the one next door to us," the Bishop said. "Rather, the neighbor is the one who is most different from us, the one whom we find so difficult to embrace. Saint Ambrose tells us, 'Mercy, not kinship, makes someone a neighbor.' Yes, we need to look further from ourselves to find our neighbors. It demands compassion for the stranger, just as the Samaritan had mercy that resulted in caring. The Samaritan really proved that mercy was more important than sacrifice. God, who always shows mercy and not condemnation to us, has a merciful heart which we must imitate."

You might be thinking to yourself, that's too difficult! Yes, it is so much easier to help those who are very much like us, but it is the widow, the orphan, the stranger, the sinner who Jesus came to save, and that's every one of us. By ourselves, this mission of mercy is impossible, but nothing is impossible with God!

Bishop Dimarzio concluded, "The Eucharist gives us the strength to love those whom we find difficult to love, because we are loved by the Lord who loves us without limits. Each day of our lives, we are called to the love of God and neighbor, because in this way we find the mercy of God which enables us to do what we find most difficult."

Let that love, that mercy, which knows no limits, penetrate your heart in this Year of Mercy, and go out and be a missionary of mercy to those most in need!

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