On April 11, 2015, Pope Francis declared a Jubilee Year of Mercy.
 
In the bull, Misericordiae Vultus, Pope Francis says that the Holy Year is “dedicated to living out in our daily lives the mercy which God constantly extends to all of us.”
 
Mercy, being so abstract, can seem difficult to live out in our daily lives. Usually, when one thinks of Mercy, what comes to mind is the Sacrament of reconciliation and forgiveness.
 
In declaring the Jubilee Year, Pope Francis stated, “we look forward to the experience of opening our hearts to those living on the outermost fringes of society: fringes which modern society itself creates… Let us open our eyes and see the misery of the world, the wounds of our brothers and sisters who are denied their dignity, and let us recognize that we are compelled to heed their cry for help!” (Misericordiae vultus, no. 15).
 
When reading the Popes words, one wonders if Mercy is something greater.  Mercy, on a deeper level, is about opening our hearts to those who have been denied their dignity.
 
On this day, when more than 57 million children have lost their lives to legalized abortion since 1973, it is clear that in our society, human dignity is especially under attack from abortion.
 
The Catholic Church’s position on abortion is clear. In the magisterial document Donum Vitae (The Gift of Life) the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith affirmed that, “The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from that same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life,” (Sec I.1)
 
The right to life is the most fundamental principle of human rights.  
 
When Pope Francis asks the Church to “announce the mercy of God,” he is asking us to recognize the dignity of every human person. Let us heed the call!
 
In this Year of Mercy, let us strive to bring mercy to the unborn child at risk of abortion for they are on “the outermost fringes of society” with no voice.  Perhaps living out the Father’s Mercy in our daily lives may go a long way towards ending abortion.
 
In this Holy Year, let us pray for the human dignity of all.  As Catholics our prayer may take multiple forms such as fasting and mortification, corporal works of mercy, making financial contributions, or purely speaking for those with no voice.