Beliefnet
Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Photo courtesy of Gualberto107/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of Gualberto107/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Advent 2016 is underway, a time of internal preparation in order to be more fittingly joy-filled when Christmas dawns. I truly enjoy this time, and try to spend lots more of my waking hours in quiet, prayer, and gentle appreciation for all of God’s marvelous gifts in my life and in the world around. And this year, I will also reflect upon and ramp up for another deeply spiritual event that will flow throughout the coming year: The Jubilee Year of Mercy.

It’s an interesting juxtaposition of words:  “Jubilee” and “Mercy.” When I think of the word “jubilee,” I envision loud and happy celebration – a time of bright music and lots of praise and laughter. Jubilee, to me, recalls the gospel song, “Sign Me Up,” and the uplifting way the choir I used to conduct would sing it, hands raised and faces beaming.

And then there’s the word “mercy,” a much more tempered word, with roots in the direct connection between our broken human condition and God’s forgiveness and love. It’s hard to voice the word “mercy” with anything but reverence, devoid of clatter and noise. Even harder to imagine loud celebrations with mercy at the heart: The most obvious song that comes to mind is the slower, simpler “Lord, Have Mercy” that we intone during the liturgy.

But, are the two words, then, separate and distinct, or is something else going on?

Taking a deeper look, I think these two words move and speak together in a very important way.  For, as individual as they are in tone, “jubilee” and “mercy” blend joy with gratitude, celebration with sanctity. No freewheeling year, this 2016, but rather a time to be so very, deeply thankful for the mercy that Our Lord extends to us and then, through the energy and enthusiasm that a jubilee inspires, to act upon it  for the betterment of ourselves and our world.

To me, “jubilee” ebokes the willing spirit that will lead each of us to take more time to deepen our faith and find more ways to act with compassion and mercy toward others. And the word “mercy” brings us to those gentle acts, internal and external, one by one, throughout the year which, when added together and to those acts that others do, will make for a moving and inspiring time for our very troubled world.

So, at the deepest level, “Jubilee” and “Mercy” go hand in hand – joy with compassion, celebration with love.

And so we begin!

Peace,

Maureen

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