Having Mercy Small Group Resource Session Six PastoralPlanning.com, 2015
Prayer of Pope Francis for the Year of Mercy
Lord Jesus Christ,
you taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father,
and told us that whoever sees you sees Him
You are the visible face of the invisible Father
let the Church be your visible face in the world...
You willed that your ministers would be clothed in weakness
so they could feel compassion for those in ignorance and error:
let everyone who approaches us feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God.
Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing,
so the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord,
and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may we bring good news to the poor,
proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed,
and restore sight to the blind.
We ask this through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy,
of you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit
for ever and ever. Amen.
When do you give physical expression to your faith? Where? To
Have you ever told your children how you feel (not think) about Je-
sus? With whom do you share this?
Do you express any emotion at weddings? At funerals? At football
games? At Mass?
Do you think people are afraid to express their emotions? If so, why?
something to cling to, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born
in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and be-
came obedient to the point of deatheven death on a cross (Philippians 2:6).
Jesus had emotions that were not always in conformity with his intellect and will. He
showed this most dramatically in his agony in the garden, when he prayed, Father,
if it is possible, let this cup pass from me! At that moment, emotionally, Jesus did not
want to die to save the world. Although his will never waveredFather, if this cup
cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be donehe felt and expressed the weakness
of his flesh. That is why we recognize his love as mercy: help given out of a sense of
We can accept the mercy of others without humiliation when they reveal that they
are just as subject to weakness as we are: people who feel as we feel, who are
equally able to fall as we fall. To reveal our emotions is to empty ourselves as Jesus
did on the cross.
When do you find that people are not afraid to express emotion? When are they
Does it make you feel closer to Jesus knowing he felt fear, disappointment, even re-
luctance to do the Fathers will by dying on the cross?
Gods divine life in us is invisible. Our faith, hope and love help no one unless they are
communicated to others through physical acts of self-expression.
The fifth way of having mercy is to reveal both our minds and our heartsnot just our
thoughts, but our feelingsto others. For Christians this raises
How do we give expression in human words to the divine
truth we know by faith?
How do we give expression in visible actions to the divine
good of the ideals Jesus taught and modeled, not being afraid to
stand out as different?
How do we give physical expression to our feelings about God, Jesus, other members
of his body who are not acceptable to our peer group?
How do we empty ourselves by pouring out our heart to another when needed
to show trust and mercy?
Having Mercy Small Group Resource Session Six PastoralPlanning.com, 2015
What is self-expression all about?
Participants read these faith statements aloud:
The fifth thing all humans have in common is bodies and emo-
tions: We all have physical needs and desires, suffer physical and
It is mercyhelp given out of a sense of physical relationshipwhen we help the
hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, strangers (the lonely, all who feel isolated or insecure),
the imprisoned (plus those who feel trapped by circumstances or enslaved by addic-
tions), and help the bereaved bury their dead. We call these the corporal works of
But we must combine physical help with compassion, visible co-feeling with oth-
ers. In Christian ministry Christs co-feeling must become visi-
ble by taking flesh in our bodies. We must express our emo-
Woundedness makes us feel alone; first, because we think that
only we are weak; second, because we feel that anyone who
knows what we feel would reject us. We heal others when we 1.
reveal our own weakness; 2. express our acceptance of them in
Emotion heals emotion. The expression of acceptance heals the
expression of rejection. The expression of love heals the expres-
sion of indifference. To refuse to express our emotions is to re-
fuse healing mercy.
Jesus saved our souls by incorporating us into his body on the cross. But he healed
our hearts by expressing his love through physical emotions and pain. He emptied
himself by literally pouring out his heart. That is why we look to the crucifix for sal-
vation; but for healing we look at his heart.
Mercy means to come to the aid of another out of a sense of relationship. We
are related to every other human by having bodies and feelings. So is it a basic act of
mercy to enter into relationships with others by sharing our feelings?
What do we mean by emotional woundedness? What causes it? What heals it?
What helps you most to feel loved by other people? By Jesus?
Does looking at the picture of the Sacred Heart or of Jesus as Divine Mercy help
heal anything in you?
Continue reading faith statements aloud:
Self-expression heals because through mutual self-revelation we experience our one-
ness with others, not just as fellow humans, but as persons. We form personal rela-
One of the first sayings of the Creator of human nature is, It is not good that a hu-
man should be alone (see Genesis 2:18). Unless we communicate on the level of
deep personal self-expression, revealing our minds, wills and hearts to each other, we
all remain very deeply alone.
We may think our persons are our spiritual, rather than our physical selves; but
soul friends are one, not just in mind and will but in heart. Heart implies emo-
tions, which are always physical realities.
The choice to reveal ourselves through the physical expression of emotions is essential
to intimate friendship. Without this openness, we are obviously hiding much that is
deep and personal to ourselves, keeping ourselves closed up.
Good personal relationships are healing by nature; personal relationship with God is
the nature of healing. He invites us into it through his self-expression in the flesh of
How do personal relationships with others heal us? Have you experienced this?
Have you ever felt really close to people who would not express their feelings? Why?
At what moments do you feel most united with other people? When do you experi-
ence this most at Mass?
Resume reading faith statements aloud:
Self-revelation makes us vulnerable. To express feelings makes us more vulnerable by
showing our weakness. That is why we are afraid to express ourselves.
We dont like to acknowledge that we have emotions not subject to our free choice.
We cling to the illusion that we are in the form of God: pure spirits, in total control
of ourselves, ruling our lives by undiluted intellect and will; rational adults, not chil-
dren ruled by emotions.
To cling to this image and project it is to deny the basic relationship we have with
others through our oneness in the common weakness of the flesh. To empty our-
selves by pouring out our hearts in the expression of emotion is to show both mer-
cy and trust as Jesus did:
who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as