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The Holy Year of Mercy

THE HOLY YEAR OF MERCY
 "BE MERCIFUL EVEN AS YOUR FATHER IS MERCIFUL." (LUKE 6:36) 

"Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36) - See more at: http://www.portlanddiocese.org/holy-year-mercy-announcement#sthash.d7h3i...

A SPIRITUAL WORK OF MERCY

To "Counsel the Doubtful" means to help someone who is uncertain about a decision to reach a conclu­sion in harmony with his or her ultimate end, which is eternity with God.  To "Share Knowledge and Faith" means informing and forming people in the Gospel principles which enable them to live in accord with their beliefs.

The most urgent task today is “to lead people to discover both their capacity to know the truth and their yearning for the ultimate and definitive meaning of life” (Fides et Ratio #102).

OPENING PRAYER

Blessed are you Lord, God of Wisdom.  You gave us your Son to be the Way, the Truth and the Life.  Guide us on the path to truth in our daily decisions and actions as disciples of Jesus.   Help us to follow Christ with the witness of our lives so that others may see your love and mercy revealed in our actions, especially those experiencing moments of doubt.   We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

READING
ACTS 8:26-31

Then the angel of the Lord spoke to Philip.  “Get up and head south on the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert route.”  So, he got up and set out.  Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, that is, the queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury, who had come to Jerusalem to worship, and was returning home.  Seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah.  The Spirit said to Philip, “Go and join up with that chariot.”  Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”  He replied, “How can I unless someone instructs me?”  So, he invited Philip to get in and sit with him.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM
PSALM 25:4-  Psalm 25:4-5, 8-9, 17-18 

Guide me, O Lord, in your truth.

Lord, make me know your ways.
Lord, teach me your paths.
Make me walk in your truth and teach me:
for you are my God, my Savior.

R.  Guide me, O Lord, in your truth.

The Lord is good and upright.
He shows the path to those who stray;
He guides the humble in the right path;
He teaches his way to the poor.

R.  Guide me, O Lord, in your truth.

Relieve the anguish of my heart
and set me free from my distress.
See my affliction and my toil
and take all my sins away.

R.  Guide me, O Lord, in your truth.

INTERCESSIONS

Entrusted by God to be faithful and prudent stewards of our faith, may we counsel those who have doubts and who struggle, we pray to the Lord…

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, may we draw inspiration and instruction from the saints of every time and place, we pray to the Lord…

In imitation of Jesus who went about teaching in many towns and villages, may we catechize everyone we meet in the way of salvation, we pray to the Lord…

Rejoicing in the wisdom of all teachers and educators, may we be attentive to the truth that God speaks through them, we pray to the Lord…

CLOSING PRAYER
PRAYER FOR THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH AND KNOWLEDGE

Spirit of God, fill our hearts with a desire to seek truth and rejoice in beauty.
Help us to know what is pleasing to you and to understand what is right and good in your sight.
Give us the spirit of learning that we may please you by our thoughts and love you in your creation.

Give all teachers your constant encouragement and guide them in their good work.
Spirit of God, make us effective witnesses of your truth to all whose lives we touch.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

WORKS OF MERCY
WEEKLY SUGGESTIONS TO CONSIDER

August 7:  Commit to learning about the Catholic faith through reading or participating in a faith sharing group at your parish. Invite someone to journey with you.

August 14: Thank a teacher, a catechist, a coworker, or someone who has helped you learn and grow in some way.

August 21: Make a donation to a Catholic school or to your parish’s youth ministry program.

August 28: Gently reach out to someone who is struggling with their faith.  Even if you can’t answer all their questions, be a witness of God’s love for them.

REFLECTIONS

TO INSTRUCT THE INNOCENT, TO COUNSEL THE DOUBTFUL
By: Shelly Carpenter, Parish Catechetical Leader, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux Parish

 When contemplating how to instruct the ignorant and counsel the doubtful, one word kept running through my mind: love. This one word holds so much power for all of us. We are all called to love others as God loves us. It is with love that we should especially reach out to those who are unsure, doubtful, and lost.

To know that we are loved by others gives us the strength to carry on, and it gives us the courage to show that same love to those we meet. It is with love that we listen to others who are hurt and lost and try to help them find their way. Our loving actions speak louder than any words we might say.

My favorite saint and patron of my home parish knew about the power of love. St. Thérèse of Lisieux learned early in life that no matter what is done, if it is done with the love of God, it will be a great thing. The simplest of things done with love hold such power. Little things like a smile, a greeting, helping someone in need, buying a meal for a hungry person, praising a child, listening to someone and empathizing with them can change someone’s day, attitude, and life.

If we all tried to be kind and love others what a beautiful world this would be. Our Father in heaven loved us so much that he gave us his Son to be tortured and crucified so that our sins may be forgiven. I think the least we can do is to treat others with love through our actions and words. Are we not asked to do this to the least of our brothers and sisters? It is through our loving actions that the love of Christ and his great mercy are passed on from one person to the next.

May we all feel the power of this little word. This one, four-letter word that holds the power to change the universe is ours for the giving to all those we meet in our daily lives. I challenge you to start right this minute to love those you meet and see the difference it will make in their lives and yours.

TO INSTRUCT THE INNOCENT, TO COUNSEL THE DOUBTFUL
By: Donna Jacques, Principal, Saint Thomas School

Is anyone listening?  Many times during the day, teachers at all levels of education feel as though no one is listening.  If no one is listening, then how do we instruct the ignorant or counsel the doubtful?  Often, it is not so much what we say as it is what we do. 

In thinking about this challenge as to how we live our faith, I recalled a poem from years ago.  The author is unknown.  The poem was titled, When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking.  “When you thought I wasn’t looking, I heard you say a prayer, and I knew there is a God I could always talk to and learned to trust in God. “   Another line states, “When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you give of your time and money to help people who had nothing and learned that those who have something should give to those who don’t.”   The poem goes on to give many examples on what can be learned in watching others. 

Our words are powerful but even more so are the actions we take.  As teachers in Catholic education, it is not only the subjects that we teach but how our decisions are affected by our faith.  What impact does our faith have on the choices that we make and how we interact with others?  Do we share our faith journeys of a time when we struggled to understand with someone who is doubtful?  Does a person experience Jesus through an interaction with us?  Are we welcoming and accepting of those we are called to serve?

A pastor I once knew used to challenge us to truly live our faith with the words, “You may be the only Jesus someone meets today.  What image of Jesus will they experience?”

Instructing the ignorant and counseling the doubtful are about words and our sharing the joys and struggles of our own faith journeys.  The more powerful witness is how those words are put into action