Daniel Hale is CAFOD’s Head of Campaigns. In November, CAFOD will be hosting retreats all around the country, giving supporters a chance to reflect on faith and taking action in light of the Year of Mercy.
There are only three more weeks until the end of the Year of Mercy, the holy year called by Pope Francis to reflect on the mercy of God. Of course reflection is good at any time, but why did the Pope ask for this year to be the year?
I think it was a clever way to ask us to take a fresh look at the problems faced by the world and its people. The refugee crisis, to which Pope Francis had tried to draw so much attention was one such issue.
Over several years Francis had done a lot to promote the cause of refugees, including visiting Lampedusa, where so many migrants washed up on European shores. But the world was slow to act.
Who do you think you are?
So the Pope changed tack. Instead of asking us, “what do you think you’re doing?” he asked us a more profound question: “who do you think you are?”
That opens up a whole new way to see the world and taps directly into the heart of his encyclical, Laudato Si’.
‘The world is a gift which we have freely received and must share with others… Let us not only keep the poor of the future in mind, but also today’s poor, whose life on this earth is brief and who cannot keep on waiting.’
– Pope Francis
Instead of ‘empty activism’, our work is founded on time out and reflection. We are invited to start from a place of contemplation and move into action.
So finding a solution to the refugee crisis is no longer only a tough political problem to be solved. Instead, it is a moral problem of how to treat our sisters and brothers.
And tackling climate change isn’t only about finding technical scientific solutions, it’s about “simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness” in which we can all participate.
Just say No! to rapidification
But finding the time to think about problems afresh might seem to be the preserve of Pope Francis and other professional contemplatives. In our busy lives, we’re always on the go – kids, work, it’s non-stop. Pope Francis made up a word for this, “rapidification”.
So this autumn, why not take a moment to say no to rapidification?
Join us in reflection
Join me and my colleagues for a retreat to mark the end of the Year of Mercy. Meet some old friends and some new people, get out into nature, share some food, and take some precious time out before the Christmas crush.
From ten til four we’ll take a step back and think about the mercy shown by God, and the mercy we’re called to show others.
I did the first retreat this weekend and people enjoyed it immensely: “a thought-provoking day, the opportunity to reflect and discuss themes pertaining to Mercy was very welcome”.
There are still some places. Find one near you before the Year of Mercy ends.