As part of his Holy Year of Mercy, Pope Francis on Thursday led over 6,000 priests in a Roman retreat, calling mercy a verb rather than a noun. Priests, he said, have to “show mercy” in order to receive it.
The pontiff offered three meditations to the priests, each one hour long.
During the first session, Francis said he hoped the fruits of this retreat produce a “conversion of our institutional mindset,” because if priests don’t showcase God’s mercy, they become something “bizarre and counterproductive.”
“Nothing unites us to God more than an act of mercy, for it is by mercy that the Lord forgives our sins and gives us the grace to practice acts of mercy in his name,” Francis said.
“Nothing strengthens our faith more than being cleansed of our sins,” he said.
Throughout the day, Francis’ words were deeply rooted in the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, the order to which the pontiff himself belongs.
The Holy Year of Mercy called for by Francis began on Dec. 8, and will come to an end on Nov.20. Although he’s asked for the jubilee to be lived throughout the dioceses of the world, several groups had, or still will have, special jubilee celebrations in Rome.
Last weekend, for instance, it was the Jubilee of Deacons, and on September it’ll be the turn for workers and volunteers of Mercy. Their celebration will culminate with the canonization of Mother Teresa on Sept. 4.
Read more at Crux.