The Diocese of Westminster has released its Lenten booklet on the theme of mercy for faith-sharing groups and individual meditation.
In his forward to the booklet, Lift Up Your Hearts, Cardinal Vincent Nichols commends the resource saying: ‘it encourages us to consider the mystery and beauty of God’s mercy together with the reality of our lives marked, so often, by sin. We will all have experienced, within our closest relationships, times of entanglement and brokenness, and the desire to start again. This is very much the pattern of the unfolding of God’s mercy. The challenge for us all is to imitate Jesus Christ, the face of God’s mercy, and to render incarnate the mercy and love we ourselves have received.’
The sixty-four page booklet is comprised of six sessions offering reflections on the parables devoted to mercy as well as Gospel accounts of personal encounters with Jesus, who embodied Divine Mercy.Each session includes prayers, a passage of Holy Scripture, a reflection and questions for discussion.
Besides daily prayer drawn from the Divine Office and other supplementary materials, the booklets also include children’s pages that simplify the theme of each session for children and/or grandchildren.
Over the course of six weeks, participants will meet in parish centers or each other’s homes to explore the nature of mercy and its roots in the love of the Father, Christ’s crucifixion and the work of the Holy Spirit within each one of us. Together, they will consider how Jesus Christ modelled mercy and invites us to turn to Him with a contrite heart and be healed in the sacrament of Reconciliation. Week One begins with the offer of salvation (Jesus and the repentant thief). Week Two then looks at the contrite heart of the prodigal son. Week Three explores St Paul’s encounter with God’s mercy and is followed by Week Four, which shows us God’s infinite mercy through the parable of the Good Samaritan. Week Five considers repentance and transformation shown to us by Zacchaeus and Week Six looks at God’s call to each one of us: to follow him, to be merciful to those around us (The Rich Man and Lazarus). As well, lifting up the beauty of our faith, a work of art is a key feature of each session.
In the week preceding each session of the season, a short E-Newsletter entitled Further Thoughts will also be available for group leaders and those interested. Besides additional thoughts on the session’s theme, there is a short commentary on that session’s artwork.
If you would like to order copies of Lift Up Your Heart, sign up for the E-Newsletter, or arrange a visit from a member of the writing team, please email (email@example.com) or call the Agency for Evangelisation (0207 798 9152). Booklets are also available at bookshops near the Cathedral.