Rome, December 8, 2015
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Patroness of the Congregation
Dear Confreres, Sisters, Lay Associates and friends,
“With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption” – the motto of our Congregation is contained in this line from Psalm 129. As we celebrate the feast day of our Patroness, and Pope Francis opens the Holy Door to inaugurate the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, it is good to remember that this psalm and our motto bring together mercy and redemption as one mystery at the heart of our missionary vocation.
Today also marks the 50th anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council. We remember the words of Pope St. John XXIII: “Now the Bride of Christ wishes to use the medicine of mercy rather than take up the arms of severity.” Calling to mind the teaching of Pope St. John Paul II, Pope Francis reminds us that mercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life. Nothing in her preaching and witness can be lacking in mercy (MV 10). I encourage you to read and study once again the Bull of Indiction for this Jubilee, Misericordiae Vultus.
As Redemptorist missionaries, this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy touches the heart of our charism to proclaim the message of plentiful redemption to the most abandoned and especially the poor. We are missionaries of mercy, mercy which touches and transforms the whole human person. In communion with Pope Francis, we are called to go out to every human person, without exception.
Today we celebrate the Immaculate Conception – that great mystery which shows that the mercy of God knows no limits, but seeks ever creative ways to heal human nature and re-create men and women in the image and likeness of God. This liberating and healing vision of mercy is a source of life and tenderness, which Mary experienced from the first moment of her conception. As our thoughts turn to Mary, the Mother of Mercy, may we all discover again the joy of God’s tenderness, and the limitless mercy of the Redeemer which embraces everyone, without exception.
Let us commit ourselves during this extraordinary jubilee to renew our call as missionaries of mercy entrusted with the Good News of Plentiful Redemption. May the open Holy Door of Mercy welcome all. May Mary accompany us and the whole Church.
Your brother in the Redeemer,
Michael Brehl, C.Ss.R.