Skip to content

The Holy Year of Mercy

By Fr. Thomas M. Santa, CSsR

By the time you receive this issue of our monthly newsletter, we will be well into our celebration of the Holy Year of Mercy, an Extraordinary Jubilee announced by Pope Francis in March 2015.

In his September 2015 letter on the granting of indulgences to the faithful during this Year of Mercy he writes, “It is indeed my wish that the Jubilee be a living experience of the closeness of the Father, whose tenderness is almost tangible, so that the faith of every believer may be strengthened and thus testimony to it be ever more effective.”

Pope Francis’ letter is of particular importance to people with scrupulosity. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know God’s mercy rather than the fear and anxiety of scrupulosity? Is it possible to move from the negative experience of fear and anxiety to the positive experience of God’s mercy?

Is this not an appropriate grace and blessing for people with scrupulosity during this Holy Year of Mercy?

The anxiety and suffering of people with scrupulosity are the opposite of the peace and contentment felt by people who know they are loved and forgiven by God. We anticipate an extraordinary outpouring of God’s grace during this spectacular year as the prayers, hopes, and expectations of the universal Church focus on God’s mercy. People of God expect a powerful result when our voices unite in prayer.

This Year of Mercy is the perfect time to ask for the grace of healing. The following prayer petitions are especially appropriate for people with scrupulosity.

Practice expectant and extraordinary grace by asking for the grace of healing.

If you’re not ready to ask for the grace of healing, ask for the grace of courage to ask for the healing you don’t believe you deserve. Even  when you’re in the midst of a personal -struggle—a struggle that leads you to believe you’re not worthy of the grace you ask for—pray for the grace to remove the obstacle that keeps you from asking for healing grace.

If you don’t even feel worthy of asking for the grace to have the courage to ask for what you feel you don’t deserve, try this: Pray for the grace to have the courage and conviction to ask to be encouraged to ask for the grace of what you fear and what you doubt God wants for you. Pray that God’s many blessings fill you so that you can begin to imagine a life free from the daily anxiety and fear scrupulosity inflicts upon you.

This last prayer petition is also the most challenging and difficult. It can be prayed by those who have continual blasphemous thoughts. Ask that even thoughts and words that seem not to be pleasing to God be graced by God so that you don’t pay attention to your words. Ask that you will simply feel the love in your heart and trust that this feeling is pleasing to God.

Each of these prayers will enable your fuller participation in the Holy Year of Mercy and the fulfillment of the grace hoped for and prayed for by all of God’s people.

Our Holy Father encourages each of us during the Extraordinary Jubilee to encounter God’s mercy in a profound and even unexpected manner. The good men and women with scrupulosity are also included in his thoughts and his prayers.

At the same time, however, we humbly acknowledge that scrupulosity makes it hard to easily encounter the grace offered during this Year of Mercy. It may be difficult, and it may require focused energy, but it’s not impossible. Perhaps if we join our thoughts and prayers for each member of our group, we will be able to celebrate the blessing of shared experience and the strength of shared grace.

It’s worth the effort, and I’m confident in the grace of God that we will experience what we hope and pray for.

Published in2016 FebruaryCover Articles