Monday, February 22, 2016

The Name of God is Mercy by Pope Francis

The Name of God Is MercyThe Name of God Is Mercy by Pope Francis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a gift from a friend and it was the book I began Lent with. The first part of the book is a Q&A between a Vatican reporter and the pope. As usual, Pope Francis is personable and clear answering the series of questions about mercy and its centrality in our Christian faith.

What might surprise many readers is that Francis spends an equal amount of time talking about sin, repentance, confession, and reconciliation. One can't receive or even recognize mercy unless one knows why it has been extended. That means you've got to know you did something wrong. And then fully receiving mercy means you will respond to the love that has been offered. This isn't just the easy mercy that secular society thinks of when the word is used. It is the real, full-blown deal that changes lives.

Also of interest to many will be that Francis continually mentions his predecessors as bearing the same message to the people. John Paul II, Benedict XVI, Paul VI, etc. and their writings are continually referenced. People often act as if Pope Francis's ideas are completely new and different when, of course, it is the same Catholic faith simply shining through a different person. It's part of what makes Pope Francis interesting to watch. He's not easy to fit into the categories with which so many want to label him.

The last part of the book is the text of Pope Francis's Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. It is as if the first part of the book is Francis talking you through his points and then the last part is the more structured presentation.

I found this book inspirational and an easy read. It is another look into the mind of this pope who so many admire and a window into the ways of true Christian life. May we all move closer to being authentic examples of it!

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