Like most eerily quiet bank holiday Mondays, the few scattered youth of the Emmaus Prayer group that hadn't managed to escape for the long weekend gathered at the usual time of 8pm at the St Bernard's Club to deepen themselves and their faiths in hearty community prayer. Unbeknownst to many, Sister Jennifer, a local Carmelite Nun cloistered in Ronda had made an extremely rare departure from the convent to visit an infirm family member hospitalised here in Gibraltar (please pray). Ever the opportunist, Sister Jennifer jumped at the invitation to visit the youth group and share with them the joy of the Year of Mercy.
Atop a coffee table Sister Jennifer spoke with passion, fervour and love about our role as Christians in society, about the importance of nurturing a community firmly rooted in Christ here on our blessed little Rock.
You can also watch a short clip of her sharing as my paraphrasing does her no justice:
Below are three key steps for reigniting your Year of Mercy that we have extracted from Sister Jennifer's talk:
1. The pre-match team talk: Misericordiae Vultus Pope Francis's letter preparing us for the Holy Year. (click on the title to read it!)
2. The Game Plan: Here we are introduced to the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy and how they should become the blueprint of our daily lives.
CORPORAL WORKS OF MERCY
Feed the hungry
Give drink to the thirsty
Clothe the naked
Welcome the stranger
Visit the sick
Visit the imprisoned
Bury the dead
SPIRITUAL WORKS OF MERCY
Instruct the ignorant
Counsel the doubtful
Bear wrongs patiently
Forgive offenses willingly
Comfort the afflicted
Pray for the living and the dead
(On the subject of Works of Mercy, look out for the opening of Sebastian Porral's Works of Mercy photographic exhibition at the Shrine of Our Lady of Europe)
3. The Game: As we know, things seldom go to plan. This is where we need endurance and courage and that can only come through God's grace. It is in these testing moments that we need; to turn constantly to Christ in the Eucharist, to his Mercy through the sacrament of Reconciliation, the Word of God and of course the strength of a community united in prayer.