The Holy Father
Dearly beloved, we turn our praise and our prayer to God our Father, giver of every good thing on behalf of the our brothers being commissioned to bring to diverse regions the joyful announcement of mercy in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
All pray in silence
The Holy Father
We bless you and we praise you, O God, because in the mysterious design of your mercy, you sent into the world your Son to liberate men from the slavery of sin through the pouring out of His blood and to fill them with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Look upon these your servants, O Lord, whom we commission as messengers of mercy, of salvation and of peace. Guide their steps with your right hand and sustain them with the power of your grace, so that they do not grow weak under the weight of apostolic labors.
Make the voice of Christ resound in their words and in their gestures the heart of Christ; and to as many who will listen to them, may they be attracted to the obedience of the Gospel. Establish in their hearts your Holy Spirit, so that, made all for all, they might lead to you, O Father, a multitude of children who will praise you without end in the Holy Church. Through Christ our Lord.
This commissioning was done by the Holy Father at the end of the Ash Wednesday Mass just before the final blessing. I should like to point out a few things.
(1) This is the Holy Father’s Pontificate in its essence. This isn’t just any text he read to get it over with. This is who he is.
(2) He speaks of the joyful announcement of mercy. There is a paradox here. Mercy = misericordia = misery of heart, bring the other person’s misery into one’s own heart so as to be sure to provide the most appropriate fulfillment of the need, which is not more misery but rather great joy in the mercy provided. This is not some sort of weird transference, for we all belong to the one body of Christ and the Mercy belongs to Him.
(3) The Holy Father’s speaks of slavery to sin, redemption in blood, and sanctification by the Holy Spirit (sent for the forgiveness of sin). This is as Traditional as it gets, as clear as it gets, as helpful as it gets, as encouraging as it gets from any successor of Peter, any time, anywhere, what all have always believed.
(4) The Holy Father speaks of providence and being sustained in grace in the provision of this Mercy. He is being prudent in not making an analogy of “as the Master, so the disciple.” All I have to say about that is: Yikes!
(5) This is all about Jesus, the only One who makes attractive obedience to the Gospel. We can only think of obedience unto death, the death of the cross, for Missionaries and those who hear them alike. This is hard core Catholic identity and evangelization of a multitude of children.
Thank you Holy Father, for being the Pope of Mercy.