God created each of us for love and to share that love with others. Yet each of us has turned away from that love in big and small ways; this is what we call sin. Even Pope Francis has said of himself, “I am a sinner whom the Lord has looked upon.” Pope Francis names what is true for each of us. We have all sinned, and we are all constantly being looked upon by the God who loves us. His mercy is always there for us. We all need God’s mercy in our lives because mercy heals and restores our relationships with God and each other.
Spend time reflecting on your relationship with God and with family and friends. In what ways do you show love? In what ways are you in need of mercy? Consider where your heart might be closed off to God and others because of busyness, distraction, judgment, or difficult experiences from your past. Pope Francis says the Year of Mercy is: “the opportune moment to change our lives! This is the time to allow our hearts to be touched!”(Misericordiae Vultus, 19).
Once you have spent time reflecting on your relationship with God, those around you, and your need for mercy, reach out and Receive God’s mercy.