Last night as my friends and I watched the Canonization of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II, we were talking about if and when John Paul II would be made a Doctor of the Church. The discussion focused on what would he be the Doctor of – Mercy or the Human Person? For me, I have always believed that he would someday be the Doctor of the Human Person because of his tremendous work focusing on the beauty of man and woman, the importance of the family, and of course, The Theology of the Body.
However, after the brief discussion and my Pastor’s emphasis on mercy in his homily from yesterday (which also gave me the idea for today’s blog post), I am thinking that if and when Pope St. John Paul II is declared a Doctor of the Church, he could be the Doctor of Mercy. He knew the importance of God’s mercy we received in the Sacrament of Reconciliation – he knew it so much that he himself visited the confessional once a week.
Although the topic of mercy runs through his documents, it’s his second encyclical, Dives in Misericordia, which particularly focuses on the topic. It was promulgated on November 30, 1980, a little more than two years after he was elected to the Chair of St. Peter.
Today is not the blog post to discuss this encyclical as a whole but I do want to provide you with 5 quotes from the text that focuses on the Blessed Virgin Mary and her understanding of mercy in regards to the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ (chapter 5, paragraph 9).
Calling her the Mother of Mercy, Pope St. John Paul II provides three reasons why she carries this name: first, Mary obtained mercy abundantly; second, as the Mother of God she assisted in the revelation of divine mercy; and third, as the Advocating Queen Mother she continues to bring a mission of mercy to the Church.
It’s my hope that you will read these carefully and prayerfully so that you may come to know Mary’s fundamental role as the Mother of Mercy. It’s in her tenderness and care as our Mother that we can receive God’s abundant and divine mercy.
1. “Mary is also the one who obtained mercy in a particular and exceptional way, as no other person has. At the same time, still in an exceptional way, she made possible with the sacrifice of her heart her own sharing in God’s mercy. This sacrifice is intimately linked with the cross of her Son, at the foot of which she was to stand on Calvary.”
2. “No one has received into his heart, as much as Mary did, that mystery, that truly divine dimension of the redemption effected on Calvary by means of the death of the Son, together with the sacrifice of her maternal heart, together with her definitive fiat.”
3. “Mary, then, is the one who has the deepest knowledge of the mystery of God’s mercy. She knows its price; she knows how great it is. In this sense, we call her the Mother of Mercy: Our Lady of Mercy, or Mother of Divine Mercy…”
4. “…As the Mother of the crucified and risen One; as the One who, having obtained mercy in an exceptional way, in an equally exceptional ways “merits” that mercy throughout her earthly life and, particularly, at the foot of the cross of her Son; and finally as the one who, through her hidden and at the same time incomparable sharing in the messianic mission of her Son…”
5. “It was precisely this “merciful” love, which is manifested above all in contact with moral and physical evil, that the heart of her who was the Mother of the crucified and risen One shared in singular and exceptionally – that Mary shared in.”
Mary, Mother of Mercy…Pray for Us!
Pope St. John Paul II…Pray for Us!