This Advent begins a new liturgical year which Pope Francis has proclaimed to be a “Year of Mercy.” Certainly our world, beset by terrorism and frightful intolerance on many fronts, is in great need of mercy. But there is an added dimension to the pope’s plea. Quite recently the pontiff remarked that the world has already entered into “Piecemeal World War III,” a frightful prognosis, to be sure. Is the world, in fact, sliding headlong into an extended period of chaos and conflict from which only God’s mercy will be able to deliver us? And is mercy only the province of God, or do human beings also share some obligation to participate in the extending of mercy?
Civilization itself is tottering on the brink as 2016 dawns, and yet our leaders, rather than trying to pull us back from that cliff, seem content to push mankind ever closer to the precipice. Continue reading