EUROPE/ITALY - Franciscans: mercy and forgiveness in these times of conflict

Monday, 1 August 2016 forgiveness   jubilee of mercy   franciscan  

Assisi (Agenzia Fides) - "May this centenary help us experience a little healthy shame because no one appears to want to do anything to put peace and concord in the conflicting reality in which we live and may it help us use creativity to find new ways to sing a song comprehensible to the men and women of our day: an effective challenge to build peace and reconciliation ": this was said by the four Ministers General of the Family of Franciscans, (superiors of the Orders Friars Minor, Friars Capuchin , Friars Minor Conventual and Third Order Regular) in a pastoral letter issued on occasion of the 8th centenary of the Pardon or Indulgence of Assisi. "In this year of 2016 - the general ministers recall – two dates coincide: the anniversary of the traditional date of the granting of the Indulgence of the Porziuncola, begged for and obtained by Saint Francis so as to “send everyone to paradise', and this Holy Year or Jubilee of Mercy convoked by a Pope by the name of Francis ". The Message sent to Fides continues "we want to make this coincidence of dates an opportunity to reflect on the important question of mercy and pardon in relation to our Franciscan spiritual tradition. Mercy is a word dear to Saint Francis, who uses it often in his writings and in two directions: in the direction of our merciful God and in the direction of our own merciful action towards our brothers and sisters. Speaking about indulgence and mercy we begin by considering the Father and his mercy towards us and this led us to consider intervention in these times of conflict. We could also make the path reversed: begin by speaking of pardon and reconciliation towards others in order to be able to start talking about the Mercy of God, as St Francis writes in his Testament ". The text of the message concludes: "The important thing is that these two elements are never separated, because Jesus in his Gospel teaches that God’s first commandment speaks contemporaneously of love of God and love of neighbour which may never be separated". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 1/8/2016)