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Apr 21

Catholicity

“The time has come for the Church to take up the joyful call to mercy once more. It is time to return to the basics and to bear the weaknesses and struggles of our brothers and sisters.”

Pope Francis, Misericordiae Vultus

Mercy Minute

As we all know, Georgian Court is a “Catholic university in the Mercy tradition.”  As an institution, we rightly spend a great deal of time exploring the rich meaning of mercy for our community.  However, we sometimes seem to spend less time investigating our Catholic character – an endeavor that can deepen our understanding of mercy.

The word “catholic”, of course, means “universal.”  It is a reference to the Church’s universality, its inclusiveness and its openness to truth wherever it may be found.  “Catholicity”, therefore,

“…means having a ‘sense of the whole’ or consciousness of belonging to the whole.  Catholicity, like consciousness itself, is not a static, fixed ideal.  Rather, it is an expression of human awareness in relation to the surrounding world; a thread connecting the human person and the cosmos.  Catholicity undergirds the question: Are we aware of belonging to a whole greater than our own immediate vision?”   Sr. Ilia Delio, OSF

From this explanation, it becomes clear that mercy is something that flows from our catholicity.  The word “mercy,” comes from the Latin miserecordia, which means “a heart sensitive to the misery of others.”  In other words, mercy flows out of an awareness of another’s suffering and need.  It is a recognition of our connectedness to the distress of the broader human community and indeed, the whole of creation.  Our catholic character is more than a denominational label.  It is a challenge to be more universal in our outlook, to see beyond ourselves.  It pushes us to acts of mercy which are more open, inclusive and lavish.

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