Every morning we pray in the Canticle of Zechariah that because of the tender mercy and compassion of God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, and that light will shine on all who dwell in darkness and that God will guide our feet into the way of peace.
I recall the early mornings that I have experienced, and how the light gently grows. It is always a quiet and prayerful time; a good time to remember and recollect ourselves. I love the image of light dawning upon us, enlightening us and helping us to see and so walk the journey.
Zechariah also invites us to recall God’s ancient yet ever new promise to show mercy and remember the covenant He made with us. Every evening in the Canticle of Mary we remember how God comes to the help of his servants, and remembers the promise of mercy. We begin and end our day with mercy.
These is good to remember every day, but especially during Advent and during the Year of Mercy that has begun. God’s mercy is the foundation of it all; it gives us light, direction, peace. When we have somehow experienced this gift of mercy, it helps us relate to others; it defines our stance in the world.
It fits so well with how the Franciscan vocation is expressed in The Legend of Three Companions: This is our vocation: to heal wounds, to bind what is broken, to bring home those who are lost.
In other words, to be merciful. It might be helpful to remember our privileged vocation now and again this Advent and throughout this jubilee year. Perhaps we can find creative ways to let this merciful light shine in the darkness so much around us.
(This originally appeared in the December 10, 2015 issue of SJB News Notes, the newsletter of St. John the Baptist Province)