Advent is a way of preparing ourselves to welcome God into our lives each day. During the four weeks of Advent we try to make room for God and invite Him into our daily lives in a very special way. It can be easy to overlook the true meaning of this season as we prepare for Christmas and the holidays. With technology making our lives ever easier, we can become anxious at the merest hint of inconvenience – we can become impatient even if our computer takes a few minutes to reboot! Advent reminds us of the importance of waiting and hoping. This is the time to remember what Christians really look forward to and the preparations we must make. This year the season of advent is a perfect time to help us to prepare not just for the coming of Christ but to become part of the Jubilee of Mercy, which began on 08 December. Pope Francis has demonstrated mercy in both his words and actions since he became pontiff and it is no surprise that he has chosen this particular theme, mercy, as the basis for a celebration. These opening words, ‘Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy’ from Misericordiae vultus [the papal bull announcing the jubilee] set the tone for the entire document. This is the mystery of our Christian faith.     This advent we invite you on a journey to ponder the very essence of mercy:
  • What is mercy?
  • Why does it exist?
  • Who embodies the quality of mercy most fully in our lives?
  It was Pope Paul VI who said at the closing of the second Vatican council, ‘On the face of every human person, especially those marked by tears and suffering, we can and must see the face of Christ’. Pope Francis’ wish is that this year may be ‘dedicated to living out in our daily lives the mercy which the Father constantly extends to all of us’.