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The Open-Door Policy
By Fr. Joseph, MIC (Dec 4, 2015)
"This is our year."
That phrase came up again and again as we discussed the upcoming extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy in meetings here at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
Now don't get me wrong: Every year is a time to live "for Christ and the Church," as the Marian Father's "Renovator" Blessed George Matulaitis would say. But this Jubilee is something special, an invitation and a challenge the Holy Father has placed before us to live a truth taught by Jesus through St. Faustina and reiterated by the Great Mercy Pope, St. John Paul II: Now is the time for mercy.
This is our year! It seems tailor-made to the Marians' special calling from the Lord to spread the message of Divine Mercy and devotion to the mystery of the Immaculate Conception.
Indeed, the Jubilee begins on Dec. 8, the Marians' patronal feast day, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. What a grace from God!
Founded in Poland in 1673, we were the first Catholic men's order to give witness to Mary's Immaculate Conception by bearing her title in our name. This was some two centuries before the Church would proclaim the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
Why begin the Jubilee on this date? What is Pope Francis up to? He is highlighting the fact that God desires all of us to become like Mary, humbly and obediently doing the will of the Father. Her Immaculate Conception is a signpost for what we can be. In Heaven, we will be pure of heart. But God wants us to begin the process now, on earth.
The biggest problem today is that there aren't enough living saints making Jesus present in the world. Our Holy Father wants us to become part of the solution to that. This Jubilee is to be "a journey that starts with a spiritual conversion," he said. The Pope is calling upon the Church "to find in this Jubilee the joy of rediscovering and making fruitful the mercy of God, with which we are all called to give consolation to every man and every woman of our time."
He knows graces abound for those who invoke Our Lady's powerful intercession.
"At the foot of the Cross, Mary, together with John, the disciple of love, witnessed the words of forgiveness spoken by Jesus," he said. "This supreme expression of mercy towards those who crucified Him show us the point to which the mercy of God can reach. Mary attests that the mercy of the Son of God knows no bounds and extends to everyone, without exception."
It's also telling that the Jubilee concludes on the Solemnity of Christ the King, Nov. 20, 2016. Indeed, the whole Jubilee leads us to Jesus through Mary Immaculate!
This is our year! In calling for the Jubilee, the Holy Father is also emphasizing yet another mission of the Marians and Marian Helpers: the spread of the Divine Mercy revelations of St. Faustina, who he specifically mentions by name in Misericordiae Vultus (The Face of Mercy), the papal bull declaring the Jubilee.
In 1941, barely three years after the death of Sr. Faustina, the Divine Mercy devotion was brought to the United States from Poland by a Marian priest, Fr. Joseph Jarzebowski. Since that time, thanks to the work of the Marians and our Marian Helpers, we have witnessed wonderful fruits in the lives of those who have embraced the Lord's call through St. Faustina to turn from sin, receive Christ's mercy, and share His mercy with others. The Holy Father knows the power of this message: that it brings about renewed peace and hope, miracles of grace, and extraordinary conversions.
In his papal bull, the Holy Father said of St. Faustina, "May she, who was called to enter the depths of divine mercy, intercede for us and obtain for us the grace of living and walking always according to the mercy of God and with an unwavering trust in his love."
This is our year! Let us turn in prayer to Mary Immaculate, asking her to strengthen us in holiness and guide us to her Son, Christ the King.
Let's forgive those who have hurt us.
Let's go to Confession regularly.
Let's meditate on the Sacred Scriptures.
Let's pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet daily, imploring mercy "on us, and on the whole world."
Let's perform one or more works of mercy every day.
Dear Marian Helpers, let's go and announce the Gospel of Mercy. The world needs a Church in splendor. This is our year!
EDITOR'S NOTE — The doors you see are the entrance to the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. For the Jubilee Year, Pope Francis has emphasized the importance of making a pilgrimage to grow in holiness, ask for God's forgiveness, and offer thanksgiving.
The Marians are pleased to announce that the Most Rev. Mitchell Rozanski, bishop of the Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts, has named our Shrine an official pilgrimage location for the Jubilee Year of Mercy. The Shrine's Holy Door officially opens Dec. 8.
To learn more about making a pilgrimage to the Shrine, email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit TheDivineMercy.org/shrine or call (413) 298-1119.
Jubilee homepage — Visit our special home page for the Jubilee Year: TheDivineMercy.org/jubilee. There you'll find news updated regularly and videos to help guide you in your spiritual journey during this extraordinary year.