NZ bishops encourage Reconciliation in letter on mercy

New Zealand’s bishops have produced a pastoral letter on Mercy in which Catholics are asked to give themselves generously to the sacrament of Reconciliation.

The letter, titled, “Be Merciful“, notes the interest in the jubilee Year of Mercy throughout the Catholic world.

The bishops state that “as a way of life, mercy directs our outlook and our expectations, reflecting a particular view of the world and other people”.

The “merciful do not ignore or minimise wrong-doing”.

Rather, the merciful “seek to understand before judging, and, wherever possible, are ready to excuse”.

“The strength of gentleness empowers the merciful.

“The way of mercy flows from the sacred scriptures that tell of God’s love for our world – a love revealed above all in the gift of Jesus who came not to condemn but to save, not to weigh down but to lift up and set free.”

The bishops state that mercy is a personal choice, but it is not an easy one.

“I have to forgo my ‘right’ to be annoyed, to be angry, to want revenge!

“Yet it is by letting go of these ‘rights’ that we find true joyfulness in living.

“As this Holy Year of Mercy continues, we should each give ourselves generously to the sacrament of Reconciliation, seeing it as an opportunity for wholehearted thanksgiving no less than for sincere sorrow.

“This is not an encounter to be feared, but rather a home-coming to anticipate with joy.

“You will find a ready welcome from any priest you approach.”

The bishops note that “the merciful are people in touch with their own weakness and therefore they do not expect perfection in others”.

The bishops explain that being “merciful to me” is not a call to “go easy on me”, “but rather a plea for help to become better, stronger, more capable of contributing to life”.

The bishops encourage people to visit diocesan cathedrals with friends, family and other parishioners and to pass through the holy doors of mercy.

These doors “reveal a path to the risen, glorified Christ waiting to welcome you – whatever your failings – into the presence of love, the presence of mercy”.


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News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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