crament all to Encounter the Sa C A s Pope Francis reminds us in Misericordiae Vultus (The Face of Mercy), his Bull of Indiction announcing the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, we have a Father “who runs out to meet his son despite the fact that he [the son] has squandered away his inheritance” (no. 17). This running of the Father toward his wayward son (Lk 15:11-32) poignantly shows how the grace of God always precedes the return of the sinner and hastens to restore the sinner to the dignity of sonship. The Sacrament of Reconciliation was given to us by the Lord Jesus to enable each one of us to have a personal experience of the Father’s all-merciful embrace. In this Year of Mercy, the Church has launched various initiatives to make this sacramental encounter more widely available throughout the world. How might the Lord be calling you specifically to respond to this opportunity? “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Is 55:6-7). bilee How Do I Obtain the Ju Indulgence? A n indulgence is a “remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1471). Catholics may obtain a plenary (complete) indulgence through the remainder of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which ends on November 20, 2016, the Feast of Christ the King. Complete these acts within about twenty days: • Make a pilgrimage to a local Holy Door site or to one of the four Holy Door papal basilicas in Rome. • Go to confession. • Receive the Holy Eucharist “with a reflection of mercy.” • Make a profession of faith. • Pray for the pope. Pope Francis says the elderly, confined, or ill may obtain the indulgence in three ways: • “Living with faith and joyful hope this moment of trial.” • Receiving the Eucharist. • Participating in Mass or community prayer, “even through the various means of communication.” 4 Sacred Heart Major Seminary | Mosaic | Spring 2016 abides and draws everything toward life” (CCC, no. 1085). As the Church proclaims the saving death of her Lord (1 Cor 11:26), the Holy Spirit, who is her “living memory” (CCC, no. 1099), reminds her of the Paschal Mystery in the most powerful sense of making it present, here and now. Thus, every sacramental celebration, and above all the Eucharistic liturgy, is a re-presentation of the Paschal Mystery. In the holy Mass, the Lamb-who-was-slain stands at the divine throne (Rv 5:6) and exercises his perpetual priesthood on our behalf (Heb 9:24). Through him, with him, and in him, we ourselves participate in the heavenly liturgy. “It is in this eternal liturgy that the Spirit and the Church enable us to participate whenever we celebrate the mystery of salvation in the sacraments” (CCC, no. 1139). Bath of Rebirth The life of grace in the believer begins with the Sacraments of Christian initiation, whose saving efficacy is explicitly portrayed in the pages of the New Testament. We are first “saved . . . through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Ti 3:5), then “marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit who had been promised” (Eph 1:13), and finally we partake of “the table of the Lord” and “the cup of the Lord” (1 Cor 10:21) in order to have eternal life in us (Jn 6:53). In the living encounter between Christ and the believer that takes place in these Sacraments, the deepest human hunger and thirst are assuaged (Jn 6:35; cf. 4:14). Everything we authentically desire is found in Christ’s merciful love, and every inauthentic desire is quelled. Blood of Christ, Strength of Martyrs From the very beginning of the Church’s long pilgrimage through history, the saints’ longing for God has had a sacramental focus. Already in the early second century, St. Ignatius of Antioch expressed his burning desire for union with his beloved Jesus in the words, “I want the bread of God, which is the flesh of Christ who is of the seed of David; and for drink I want his blood, which is incorruptible love” (Letter to the Romans 7.3).