Today marks the third anniversary of the election of Pope Francis. I remember watching the election on the Smart Board in my classroom. It was a thrilling experience. He marked his third anniversary as pope by reinforcing his message of mercy-over-morals. This is a message that he has been emphasizing in particular during his Holy Year of Mercy.
At his noontime blessing in St. Peter's Square he gave away 40,000 copies of the Gospel of St. Luke and told the crowd the Biblical story of the adulterous women whom Jesus fused to condemn. Pope Francis said: "This woman represents all of us, adulterers before God, traitors of his trust. And her experience represents the will of God for all of us: Not our condemnation, but our salvation through Jesus."
The past three years have gone by very quickly and Francis has done so much for all people. The Year of Mercy he began in December is so important for our world today. We all need to practice mercy in all that we do. I have been very impressed by his Five Finger Prayer where he invites us to pray using the fingers on your hand, start with the thumb and pray these intentions in this order:1.) The thumb is closest finger to you. So start praying for those who are closest to you. They are the persons easiest to remember. To pray for our dear ones is a "Sweet Obligation."
2.) The next finger is the index. Pray for those who teach you, instruct you and heal you. They need the support and wisdom to show direction to others. Always keep them in your prayers.
3.) The following finger is the tallest. It reminds us of our leaders, the governors and those who have authority. They need God's guidance.
4.) The fourth finger is the ring finger. Even though it may surprise you, it is our weakest finger. It should remind us to pray for the weakest, the sick or those plagued by problems. They need your prayers.
5.) And finally we have our smallest finger, the smallest of all. Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. When you are done praying for the other four groups, you will be able to see your own needs but in the proper perspective, and also you will be able to pray for your own needs in a better way.
May we always remember to pray and show mercy!
Pat Schifini, OSU