I consulted my good old friend “Google Translate” again this evening. Although I’ve had several years of Spanish and have picked up a little bit of Latin, I couldn’t quite guess the complete meaning of the motto for this Jubilee of Mercy, which was opened today (Dec. 8) by Pope Francis.
The motto is: “Misericordes sicut Pater!” On first glance, I recognized that misericordes pertained to mercy and that Pater means ‘father.’ My dad, who had studied a bit of Latin in school taught me the phrase “Te amo pater” (I love you father.) years ago.
According to my limited, yet talented, chum (Google Translate), the theme phrase “Misericordes sicut Pater!” means “Be merciful as your heavenly Father !” I found that interesting. Rather than simply reflecting on God’s mercy (although that certainly would be a sufficiently rich subject), this motto is also a call to us to be ‘merciful like the Father,’ as a paraphrase I saw later would have it.
This correlates with something I have seen elsewhere; that is a reminder, in conjunction with this year of mercy, about the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. I saw these listed in a couple of places that were covering this special year.
As a reminder, the traditionally listed works of mercy are:
- feed the hungry
- give drink to the thirsty
- clothe the naked
- shelter the homeless
- visit the sick
- visit the imprisoned
- bury the dead
- counsel the doubtful
- instruct the ignorant
- admonish sinners
- comfort the afflicted
- forgive offenses
- bear wrongs patiently
- pray for the living and the dead
On a side note, there are certain churches which will have a “Holy Door” for this ‘Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.’ According to the Fargo Diocese’s website, “An important part of a Jubilee is pilgrimage to a Holy Door. Bishop Folda has chosen to have a Holy Door in one of the churches in each deanery.” I actually live within a mile of one of these, that is St. Michael’s Church here in Grand Forks, ND.
Sr. Christina M. Neumann