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Mercy Word of the Week


The Mercy Word of the Week 

As we progress through the Jubilee Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis, University Ministry offers our community a "Mercy Word of the Week" to help us focus on the themes of mercy that are already so closely aligned to our mission and heritage as an institution sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy.

The first Monday of each month will bring a brief reflection on each of the University's Core Values as expressions of our Mercy charism. We hope these focused thoughts will lead to your own considered contemplation on mercy and its role in your life.

Signs: Jesus was known for working "signs and wonders." And many were drawn to him precisely because of those signs, though some left him when they realized what he was really all about. When he declared "my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him," many who had been following him walked away and then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked if they, too, would abandon him.

It seems that signs, even dramatic ones like multiplying loaves and fishes, were not enough to capture and hold the hearts of some. Whether it's a lover, a political candidate, a saint, or a messiah it takes more than signs to win a heart forever. The signs that draw us in—flowers and fancy restaurants, promises of a chicken in every pot—won't hold us if there isn't substance behind them. That's why the Catholic Church never canonizes a person simply because of dramatic signs like bilocating, visions, or the ability to see the future. Those phenomena are icing on the cake that never substitute for the cake itself—which is genuine holiness of life.

There's nothing wrong with needing "signs" to help us along the way or in difficult times. I actually asked God for a sign once because it felt it had been so long since I'd gotten the kind of shot-in-the-arm I really needed at that point. The next day, I decided to play hooky from work, told the kids we were going to a Cubs game without even knowing if they were in town. They were, so we jumped in the car and headed to Wrigley where I found a free parking spot about two-hundred feet from the gate and, while I was parking, a stranger offered my daughter four free tickets. For me, that day, that "sign" made all the difference.

But here's the thing with signs: 1.) We need to recognize them when we see them; 2.) We can't rely on them, because they're just signs…pointers. What we rely on is the God to which they point us.

Graziano Marcheschi, vice president for Mission and Ministry