We are half way through the ’24 Hours For The Lord’ initiative for the Holy Year of Mercy. In Cathedrals and Churches across the world, this event is taking place and the Lord is drawing souls to Himself through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and through Eucharistic Adoration.
In many places, this is combined with liturgies of Penance, recitation of the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Stations of the Cross. Locally, there are three Cathedrals taking part that I know of, one of which I will be visiting shortly so that I can take part.
Last year, this event was a moment of great graces and mercy for souls and I know of stories of returns to the Church and to the Sacraments, sometimes after long periods away, as a result of souls hearing the call of the Lord deep in their hearts, and then responding to that call. I am in no doubt at all that today will also be a moment of such graces and mercy for souls.
The Holy Year of Mercy has had a particular focus on the Sacrament of Reconciliation – that Sacrament which, in the Diary of Saint Faustina Kowalska, is referred to as ‘the Tribunal of Mercy’. Here, the misery of man meets (and is obliterated by) the God Who is mercy and love itself.
Our Holy Father the Pope has asked us all to pay particular attention to this precious Sacrament and the Church has taken up the response to his request. In my local Cathedral, for example, all through last night there was Eucharistic Adoration with Priests available for Confession. This would not have been possible without the hard work and the long hours of those Priests making themselves available for souls in the Confessional. Each of those Priests deserves our prayers and our support in a special way, as do all our Priests and Bishops.
It is interesting, too, to note how much coverage the initiative of ’24 Hours For The Lord’ has received on social media – Twitter, for example, has numerous posts talking about it, inviting souls to take part, giving details of where it is taking place, and documenting the event in photographs.
For many years, it has seemed as though the focus on Confession – or, perhaps, the belief in the need of Confession – has dwindled amongst souls; presently, the Holy Father seems to be working hard to reverse this trend and the beauty, power and majesty of this wondrous Sacrament is coming back to our attention and awakening something within us. And souls are responding in huge numbers.
This is most assuredly the grace of God in action in souls and throughout His Church.
When we respond to God’s grace, even in a small way, we allow the Merciful Lord to act powerfully within us – and what we lack in ourselves, He will supply. I think the ’24 Hours For The Lord’ initiative is a very clear example of this.
And I am utterly convinced that this is truly ‘the time of Mercy’.