BOOM! The Holy Doors of Mercy have now closed, as has the Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy which closed on the Solemnity of Christ the King, 20 November 2016.
Consequently, our Holy Doors Tour has now become our 4 Papal Basilicas of Rome Tour…
So now that the Holy Doors are shut, are the torrents of God’s Mercy sealed off too?
Short Answer – No.
Longer Answer – Not shut off but reverted.
God’s Mercy is infinite. Any sinner, regardless of religious belief or denomination, who humbly asks God to show them mercy with a contrite heart and with a firm purpose of amendment from their sins will receive the sweet Mercy of God and forgiveness of those sins by the merits of the Passion, Death & Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise
Psalm 51 v17
When the lance of the Roman soldier, Longinus, pierced Jesus’ side on the Cross, a torrent of mercy flooded into Christ’s Mystical Body – the Church – symbolised by the blood and water that flowed from His side.
As Christ’s mortal body hung dead, like a ripe fruit, on the tree of the Cross, we remember that the fruit of the tree of the garden of Eden brought death, but by consuming the fruit of this new tree of the Cross, we are brought back to life.
How Do We Consume This New Fruit of The Tree of Life
Christ communicates Himself to each of us in the Holy Word of Scripture and we consume him (and are consumed by Him) via the Sacraments of the Church.
It is by the sacraments that we access the eternal fountain and reservoir of mercy that flowed into the Church on the Cross.
By participating in these 7 sacraments, we become one flesh with Christ, married to him in the bond of the New Covenant instituted at the Last Supper, as our humanity mingles with His Divinity in Him.
Through His Blood, he washes away the stain of our Original Sin in the waters of Baptism and makes our souls whiter than snow (Psalm 51 v7). In Baptism, we become part of His Mystical Body 1 – the Catholic Church, by the power of the Holy Spirit (represented by an angel with a flaming sword in Genesis) and experience our own incarnation into Christ.
The sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion are the most prominent ways in which we experience & drink from the fountain of the Mercy of God.
However the Catholic Church, instituted by Jesus to sanctify all peoples and feed them with his grace (just as the apostles did as they fed the 5000 on Jesus’ behalf2), also brings people to drink from the fountain of Divine Mercy through indulgences.
Indulgences are tools the Church uses to foster actions, that when performed in union with Christ and His Church, nurture the young Christian to practice good habits, form virtue, and mature into a stronger altus Christus.
Now that the indulgences attached to the entering through the Holy Doors have ended, those who undertook the pilgrimage and entered through these doors, should have come to a greater understanding and experience of the Mercy of God and how this mercy is tied up with the role of the Church in the world.
Now is the time to reflect on the message & symbolism of the Holy Doors of Mercy.
To use the graces we have been nourished with and to return again and again to the Church to experience the sweet taste of God’s mercy again and again in the sacraments.
The shutting of the Holy Doors are not an end to the mercy of God in our lives, but rather a sweet foretaste – an invitation to a greater dining at the banquet table of the Lord in the Mass.
The closing of the Holy Doors of Mercy should spur us on to more frequent reception of the Sacraments, a closer unity and love with the Church and renewed hope & strength in Christ to journey on through the dry desert of this world, and to continue on with our pilgrimage to the promised land that is to come.
Just as we have received this sweet manna – the bread come down from heaven – in this last year, let us continue to receive Our Lord daily in the sweet bread of life in the Holy Eucharist at Mass.
“..my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.”
The closing of the Holy Doors are not a closing of the doors of mercy, but an invitation for us to fling wide the doors of our hearts to taste & drink the Divine Mercy more deeply in His Church.