(Vatican Radio) The Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya and South Sudan, Archbishop Charles Balvo has challenged clergy to deepen their understanding of the theme of mercy, which is so much needed in a world afflicted by many situations of violence and disregard for the value and dignity of human life.
The Nuncio was addressing participants during the Kenya Theological Forum held at the Little Daughters of St. Joseph’s Centre in Nairobi. Archbishop Balvo said that mercy has an all-embracing character that allows everyone to appreciate what it means to be merciful, to feel compassion for those who suffer; sympathy for those in need; deep-felt indignation in the face of clear injustice and a desire to respond with loving respect by trying to set things right.
“Reflection on this natural feeling of mercy allows people to see how God can be understood in terms of this defining attribute by which Jesus wished to reveal him. For Pope Francis, “God’s name is mercy,” he said
Reiterating Pope Francis’ words, the Apostolic Nuncio said mercy is like the tender love of a mother who, touched by the frailty of her newborn baby, takes the child into her arms and provides everything the baby needs to live and grow. He added that mercy is the steadfast faithfulness of a father who constantly supports, forgives and encourages his children to grow. Archbishop Balvo also mentioned that mercy is the fruit of a covenant, through which God constantly calls his people to keep in mind, an utterly free act of kindness and goodness rising from the depths of one’s being and finding outward expression in charity.
The Nuncio told participants that mercy helps believers see that they never cease to be in need of renewed conversion, more profound contemplation, and greater love. He emphasised that nothing unites people to God more than the act of mercy, for it is by mercy that God forgives sins and gives the grace necessary to carry out acts of mercy in his name. “Nothing strengthens faith more than being cleansed of sin,” he said.
Speaking during the same event, organised as an expression of the desire to study and reflect on the Apostolic Letter, Misericordia et misera, which Pope Francis published on 20 November 2016, at the end of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, The Kenya Conference of the Catholic Bishops (KCCB) Deputy General Secretary, Fr. Lucas Ongesa said that the shift towards the fundamentals of the Catholic life which has been taken up by Pope Francis, sets the Church onto a path of renewal.
During the five days workshop, there were various presentations: Mercy as a living reality of life; Mercy in the Sacred Scriptures; the Theological and moral implications of mercy; Mercy in the sacrament of penance; Mercy in the family; Mercy in an African context and several others.
(Rose Achiego in Nairobi)