Women’s Care Center blessing

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Monday of the Tenth Week of Ordinary Time

Blessing of the new Women’s Care Center
I couldn’t have chosen a better Gospel for this occasion of the blessing of this new Women’s Care Center, the Gospel of the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes are at the heart of Jesus’ preaching. They describe the attitudes and actions of Jesus Himself in His life and they describe the attitudes and actions we are called to have or do as His disciples.

In meditating on the eight Beatitudes according to the Gospel of Matthew, one stands out to me today not only because this is the Jubilee Year of Mercy, but because it gets to the heart of the mission of those who serve in our Women’s Care Centers. It is the fifth Beatitude: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Pope Francis teaches that the Church is called to be an oasis of mercy in the desert of the world. The Women’s Care Centers are truly oases of mercy, places where women who may be in crisis, perhaps tempted to do harm to themselves and their unborn babies, perhaps experiencing hopelessness or despair, rejection or helplessness, here receive compassionate help and merciful love.

“Blessed are the merciful.” Mercy involves an inward identification with those in need and an outward action of kindness and generosity toward them. That is what it means to be merciful. It is not judging the soul of the person, but identifying with the other in their need, in their suffering, and then helping them. Mercy is connected to love. It’s another name for love. The God of mercy is the God of tender love. We who have received and experienced the loving mercy of God are called to practice mercy toward others. That is what you do here at the Women’s Care Center. You practice mercy through the love you give to every mother and every father who walks through these doors. You are also practicing mercy through your love for their unborn babies.

It is only through mercy that we can build a culture of life and a civilization of love. This is the message of the Gospel. The Gospel of life that the Church so strongly and eloquently proclaims is also the Gospel of love and mercy. It’s one Gospel. We are to proclaim and to live this Gospel which teaches us that love and mercy are more powerful than sin and death.

I pray that this Women’s Care Center opened during this Jubilee Year of Mercy will truly be a house of mercy, a center life and love. May everyone who enters here encounter the mystery of God’s mercy! Pope Francis prays in this Jubilee Year that the Church “may never tire of extending mercy and be ever patient in offering compassion and comfort.” That is my prayer for those who serve here at the Women’s Care Center. May you never tire of extending mercy! May the Lord give you the grace to live the Beatitudes! May Mary, our mother of mercy, intercede for you and all who enter here for help!