Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Monday 01 March |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Giovanna Maria Bonomo
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

The door is closing: No time for Mercy

Fr Lawrence Lew OP CC

Deirdre Mundy - published on 10/19/16

We have work and school and chores and neighbors and cars and radios and we don’t stop, even for a moment, and take him up on his offer of Mercy.

The Year of Mercy is almost over, and I still haven’t taken the kids on pilgrimage to the Holy Door. Sure, the pilgrimage is optional. Sure, I take them to Mass and religious ed every week, so I’m at least hitting the bare minimum for Catholic parenting. But we’ve only got one month left in this jubilee, and we’ve been too busy to walk through that door.

Want to know the worst part? We live 15 minutes from it.

We drive past the Archabbey all the time, as we’re rushing from one activity to the next. We’ve even been on the grounds a few times, but too caught up in our plans to walk a little further, pray a little harder, and make our pilgrimage.

Part of the issue is that I want the pilgrimage to include prayer with the monks. If we’re going to make a mercy pilgrimage, it should be a really good pilgrimage, right? Not one of these quick ones that aren’t that special. And it should happen on a fall day with a blue sky and a nice breeze and glorious trees, so my kids can remember it forever, even on their darkest days.

Besides, what if we made the visit, crossed through the door, and didn’t have time to make it to Confession in the next 20 days? And to receive the Eucharist that day? We’d have wasted it! No plenary indulgence for us.

More to read: A primer on indulgences: Part 1 and Part 2

And so, we haven’t been because we don’t have time to make more than a mediocre pilgrimage, and my kids deserve a great pilgrimage, don’t they?

Isn’t that how mercy always goes, though? We all need God’s Mercy, all the time. And Jesus is right there, all the time, with his hands stretched out waiting for us. But we’re too busy. We have work and school and chores and neighbors and cars and radios and we don’t stop, even for a moment, and take him up on his offer of Mercy. We know, intellectually, that we need Mercy, but we don’t have time. We’ll get to it later. Until there’s a crisis, everything stops, and we realize what we need.

It makes sense that, at the Crucifixion, St. Dismas was the only one to beg for and receive a promise of Mercy. He had nothing else to do. He was at his lowest moment. He wasn’t busy. He was dying. He had time to ask for what Jesus always wants to give us, and he had a hard and fast deadline. He had time for Mercy, because he knew how little time he had left.

I need to take my kids to the Holy Door before the Jubilee Year ends. I need to take them to Confession more often. I need to wake up every morning, say, “Jesus I Trust in You” and “Lord, have Mercy on me, a sinner.” And I don’t, because I hit the ground running, dash from activity to activity, stay up too late, and pray too little.

I need to make time for Mercy, and yet Mercy doesn’t need time. It just needs my heart to turn upward long enough to receive the grace already on offer. But I tell myself I don’t have time for that.

I think Francis knew what he was doing when he gave us a deadline for the doors. It focuses the mind and forces us to put things on the calendar. It’s similar to the way that the end of the liturgical year always focuses on the end of the world and the end our lives. Without the clear cut-off, people like me would never make time for Mercy.

More to read: No Matter Where I Am, a Catholic Church Is Always Home

Tags:
Jubilee Year of MercyPope Francis
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
2
MADONNA
V. M. Traverso
The 9 oldest images of Mary
3
Jacques Fesch
Brother Silas Henderson, SDS
Meet the Death Row prisoner who discovered a ...
4
SEARCHNG PURSE
Cerith Gardiner
12 Things every Catholic woman should have in her purse
5
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful 1-minute film about...
6
CELEBRITY MARRIAGES
Cerith Gardiner
10 Celebrities whose marriages have stood the test of time
7
RECONSTRUCTED CHRIST
Lucandrea Massaro
This 3D “carbon copy” of Jesus was created using the ...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.