On December 8 of last year, Pope Francis officially opened the doors to the “Year of Mercy,” a focused effort to remind us of the mercy God shows us each and every day, and a call to show that mercy to others in our world. His document announcing the year and it’s purpose (found here) is a wonderful source of inspiration and something that could easily serve as a guide to our year’s prayer life.
And how could it not? Mercy is an essential aspect of our life as Christians, right up there with love, justice, sacrifice, and faith in terms of our most used words. Christianity, by its very nature, is a religion of mercy. The good news of Jesus Christ is that God has come to be like us, has shown us love, and offers us a new path despite our sins and failings. Rather than give us what we deserve, God gives us what we do not deserve: forgiveness and eternal salvation to those who follow.
For this reason, I recently sat down with Fr. Patrick Tuttle, OFM, Franciscan Friar and pastor of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Greenville, SC. Not only has Fr. Patrick personally shown me great mercy over the years, he was the first friar that I met when I was in college and has been a tremendous influence in my life, inspiring me to be a better Christian, to take leadership in the Church, and to eventually join the Franciscans. As a spiritual mentor, fellow Franciscan brother, and close friend, I wanted to get his take on what this year could mean for me training for the priesthood and for all of us Christians. We came up with three things worth sharing: Forgiveness, Joy, and Confession.
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