5 Ways to Live Out the Year of Mercy

TreyBy Trey Gross

The Year of Mercy started on December 8th, 2015. Did you know that? Some know a great deal about the Year of Mercy. Yet, it seems like many people are unaware of exactly what the Year of Mercy entails. Below are 5 ways that you can live out the Year of Mercy. Go!

1. GO TO CONFESSION. To live out mercy in our daily lives, we must start with ourselves.The Lord Jesus has given us himself in the “sacrament of mercy”- confession! Let us return often to the sacrament which renews us – which truly reconciles us to the Father. “Let us place the Sacrament of Reconciliation at the centre once more in such a way that it will enable people to touch the grandeur of God’s mercy with their own hands.” Pope Francis

2. HELP OTHERS GO TO CONFESSION. What better way to show others the mercy of the Father than to help others return to confession? EVERYONE IS IN NEED OF MERCY. Your coworkers, friends, family, fellow students – everyone. “In this Jubilee Year, may the Church echo the word of God that resounds strong and clear as a message and a sign of pardon, strength, aid, and love.” Pope Francis

3. GO ON PILGRIMAGE TO YOUR DIOCESE’S DOOR OF MERCY. “Everyone, each according to his or her ability, will have to make a pilgrimage. This will be a sign that mercy is also a goal to reach and requires dedication and sacrifice.” The human experience of being a pilgrim on earth must be lived out from time to time this year! Pope Francis says that going on pilgrimage can be a sign of mercy. Make a pilgrimage to the DOOR OF MERCY in your diocese (Click here for a list of all the DOORS OF MERCY.)

4. CORPORAL and SPIRITUAL WORKS OF MERCY. Find ways to encounter the poor in your city! Don’t just serve them – but encounter them – announce to them their great dignity! If you live in Denver, come encounter the poor with Christ in the City at our 2nd Saturday Lunch. “It is my burning desire that, during this Jubilee, the Christian people may reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy“. Pope Francis (Click here for list of all Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.)

5. PRAY POPE FRANCIS’ PRAYER FOR THE YEAR OF MERCY. To live out mercy, we must be close to God the Father, who shows us his mercy. Pray the prayer of Pope Francis daily for the Year of Mercy. (Click here for Prayer.)

BONUS: Do you really want to deepen in your understanding of the Year of Mercy? Read Pope Francis’ Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Year of Mercy. (Click here.)

Trey Gross is from Mobile, Alabama and an alum of Auburn University. He enjoys sweet tea, hiking, the Rosary and running. To read more from Trey, see his blog, The Joyful Pilgrim.

Yellow roses and ice cream

Yellow Roses and Ice Cream


By Makena Clawson

I can’t do much. And realizing this actually brings me peace.

I worry, wring my hands, pace around the room and eat ice cream when I’m stressed. (Mostly the ice cream one – I have my spoon in a pint of Ben and Jerry’s peanut butter cup right now.)

Working with our friends experiencing homelessness can be stressful. Their burdens become our burdens, their pain becomes our pain. How do I sleep comfortably at night when so many of my friends are freezing on cold pavement or stuck on a mat at a shelter with someone an inch away on both sides?

Recently, I’ve been getting to know a young homeless woman who is pregnant. We work with multiple pregnant women, but this one is close to me in age and we’ve formed a close friendship ever since she trusted me enough to tell me she’s expecting.

I was working with this woman to get her into a temporary shelter while she looked for more permanent housing. She agreed, there was a place in the shelter and everything was lining up. But one small problem. She wanted to spend one last night on the street. I tried to convince her, but her mind was made.

This wasn’t any normal night, but happened to be the night the first big snow of the year was set to come in. My fellow missionaries were excited about the first snow and the office buzzed with talk of the airport canceling flights, all as my heart sank lower and lower.

Could I have tried harder to convince her to go inside tonight? Should we go downtown and look for her? What if it gets so cold and she loses the baby? What more could I have done?

These questions all swirled through my head like the first snowflakes hitting the ground. I was preoccupied all evening. Sure, I gave it over to God (or at least thought I did) and prayed for him to take care of her. But I still felt like I wasn’t doing enough.

As we filed into the chapel for night prayer, I looked up towards the altar and saw a large vase full of yellow roses. Yellow roses are significant because three years ago, someone told me about how they asked God for a sign their prayers for unborn children were effective and saw yellow roses as reassurance that their prayers were heard. Yellow roses had become a special sign for me too after praying for the unborn.

I fell to my knees and realized how selfish I’d been. This homeless friend and her unborn child belong to God, not me. She is his daughter and not mine. He loves her more than I ever could. Why had I been worried, anxious and stress eating instead of handing her over to him with trust and peace?

The yellow roses reminded me that he is taking care of her and her child. That she is in his hands and not mine. Maybe he’ll use me as an instrument in helping her occasionally, but she belongs to him.

I saw my friend the next day doing well. She is now in the shelter and there’s a yellow rose bush outside with blossoms still alive even after several snows.

Makena Clawson is a first-year missionary and recent graduate of Benedictine College. She wishes the whole world loved Jesus, speaking in Spanish, and Nancy Drew as much as she does.