as always I greet you affectionately.
I have just returned after the World Youth Day during which, among other things, our young people have made a declaration about their experience of the Year of Mercy.
About three weeks ago I had written a letter to you all, with the title: “Merciful as the Father. Salesian Readings for the Jubilee Year”.
I would like to refer to that.
I would like to tell you in the first place, that to speak about mercy in the context of this year, which Pope Francis has proposed, means primarily to feel and know that God is Merciful, that God’s name is mercy, as said by the Pope in a special way.
This implies, in my opinion, some concrete proposals which could be the following:
In the first place, to desire this mercy which comes from God, to seek, to ask for it, for our own life and then to be able to offer it to others, in order to be merciful as the Father is.
At the same time there is an element, which I find very important: the letter says that our presence in the world is spread in places marked by pain, suffering, war, at times with the plight of the refugees… with people who live in extreme poverty, who suffer hunger or in other areas people experience a strong xenophobia or marked racism.
Mercy, for us signifies that we cannot remain indifferent to this reality, but we have to give a response.
Another element which I would like to communicate and have already mentioned in the letter is what the young people also say: to translate the word mercy into our everyday lives signifies to continue to choose to live joyfully, to take genuine care of the family spirit, which is a way of life that is particularly ours; it means that the Preventive System, which is above all a method of educating and living faith and life, should be realized concretely in human relationships among ourselves, with respect and trust in the young, who should feel that they are loved.
All these form part of our own characteristic ways.
Finally I mentioned in the letter – for this I invite you to read it with attention - that when we speak of mercy we need to translate mercy with justice, in our settings, that in our case justice should be the criterion and a preferential option, in the manner in which we relate with persons who work with us, in the way in which we welcome, greet and treat them, with a just remuneration for their work….
In short, a Salesian house should have a special climate with these distinct ways.
In my way of seeing things, this is very much Salesian and the Don Bosco way of translating into action “Merciful as the Father”.
May the Lord bless you and Mary Help of Christians accompany you on this journey, always under the protection of Don Bosco.
Thank you and see you soon, dear confreres.
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