Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Will you visit a Holy Door for the Year of Mercy?




Here's a photo of Pope Francis recently opening the Holy Doors of Saint Peter's Basilica at the start of the Holy Year of Mercy. And then this morning, a Catholic News Feed asked (with a chance to click on yes or no) "Will you visit a Holy Door for the Year of Mercy?" And I wondered: Hmm, the souvenir sellers, restaurateurs, hoteliers and airline industrialists would love to know how many people will be coming to Rome (or whatever major city with holy doors), so they can plan ahead. 


But going through the Holy Door (whether in Rome, Manhattan, Quebec, Paris, Barcelona...) is a metaphor for growth, change, transformation ~ the real stuff of spiritual-religious living.


  • Even reading a book that awakens something creative and humanly new in me, is stepping over the threshold of a Holy Door.

  • Responding to misery in a heart-felt place instead of changing the channel and all the more getting off the couch to make a gift for the sake of the child on the screen, that's stepping through the Holy Door
  • Getting a mind of my own, thinking for myself, instead of following the rhetoric leader, is stepping through a Holy Door.
  • Feeling sick and tired of being sick and tired and copping to the place that's been begging for the inner light of change, is stepping through the Holy Door.
  • Taking on an addiction seriously, with resolve and commitment, is stepping over the Holy Door threshold.
  • Can you believe it? Some Christians have never read the four Gospels. Making that happen in a systematic way in 2016 with pause, silence, consideration, even study, is stepping through the Holy Door.
  • I was talking with someone who is many decades old and who still feels like an inner baby, and who has set out in real effort to grow that inner stunted place. Wow, that's stepping through the Holy Door.
  • Treating soul-destroying resentments (which we all have, otherwise Jesus would never have alluded to them), is stepping through the Holy Door.
  • Stepping through the Holy Door is realizing in a new lived-practice that Jesus' religious litmus-test isn't the Ten Commandments but the Corporal and Spiritual Works of mercy, and that when it says, Instruct the ignorant and Counsel the doubtful, it might well mean first of all - myself!
  • And then of course there is that very hidden and deep place where I feel perhaps God is still holding a grudge against me, or where I feel (or have been told) I have disappointed God terribly, or where I hold a serious grudge against myself. Enough of that! It's getting on Christmas, and Jesus has shown us that God holds no grudges. Step over the threshold of the Holy Door of Divine Mercy! Tip-toe into the cave of Bethlehem, huddled with the shepherds, the Lord's first guests! How pleased Jesus and Mary are to see you!


22 comments:

  1. I pray to find my own holy doors this year and step through them. Thank you Pope Francis for this Holy Year of Mercy.

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  2. We must think past the souvenir sellers. There are many wonderful things to see and experience in life.

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  3. Passing through the Holy Door is symbolic. It is your way to Jesus. Jesus said, ‘I am the door’ (John 10:7) But Pope Francis declared this year an extraordinary holy year, so shouldn't it mean something to pass through an actual holy door? He did indeed open the door for us.

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    1. One could say that every year is extraordinary! The purpose of these events and places and things is to bring inner realities into focus. So for sure, walk through a holy door - in Rome, or Manhattan, or Venice, wherever - but you better know what's going on inside, and there needs to be something going on inside or else I'm afraid we're just playing at religion. I'm afraid there's altogether too much of that in every religion, not just ours.

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  4. This is so great Father Stephen. A real lesson for those who want to take that first step at redemption. Amen.

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  5. My greatest hopes and aspirations are to be fulfilled only if I follow Jesus. My Holy Door is to walk closer to his footsteps rather than to lead the way myself.

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  6. Father, having been away this weekend, I missed this wonderful post. I felt so much from reading it, as if someone wrote it just for me. I have this connection here and I am grateful.

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  7. As we consider the holy door and particularly this Year of Mercy, our Lord stands at the door of our hearts knocking. We must open our hearts to Him and cross the threshold of hope, striving for holiness.

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    1. A year from now we ought to be different people.

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  8. At first glance I thought you were putting down the idea of the Holy Doors. Thank goodness I kept reading. Good thoughts Father. I intend to go through the Holy Door designated in NYC as that is the closest I can come. But I will use the passage symbolically as steps towards our Lord Jesus. I picture Him beckoning from the other side of the threshold.

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    1. To call the doors a metaphor doesn't mean the whole thing isn't real - it means that it's MOST real because it's realized in my own personal life. It doesn't get more real than that.

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  9. You give us so many tools to make "real change" possible. Grateful.

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  10. Believe it or not there is a designated Holy Door at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Island in Manorville , NY. That's exit 70 of the LIE. Can you give some thoughts on today's indulgences. If there's any substance to them I would like to hear your thoughts and teachings on them. Whatever they are I am always challenged on this sight that you put your heart and soul into,

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  11. The church-definition of an indulgence is: "A partial remission of the temporal punishment that is still due for sin after absolution." I'm probably not the person to ask about indulgences. Some people have reduced "indulgences" to passes out of purgatory. I don't want to get a fight started and there are folks who love to argue these things and especially argue with priests about them, but you've asked. An indulgence is not a commodity - a "thing" to buy or store up, collect or own - that kind of thinking and practice has gotten the Church into a lot of sad trouble right up to today. The abuse of indulgences is one big piece of why there's a sorely divided Christianity today. Martin Luther simply said, enough of this... But to indulge is to give in to the desires of oneself or another. To indulge is to extend favors or freedom. To indulge is to extend or grant something. God is indulgent - always - and not just in relation to particular places, prayers, times and conditions. God indulges me with the rising of the sun. God indulges me in the opening of the Gospel page. God indulges me in the blessings of a good meal. In fragrance carried on the air. In the loveliness of someone's smile. In the beating of my heart. In my ability to read. In the gifts of friendship. In last night's rain. And in God's kindness (which is what God's mercy is) in the pardoning of sins. Even tears are an indulgence whether they are tears of sorrow over the world's suffering or the receiving of a gift or the realization of some deep and inner reality. So are there indulgences to be had off of Exit 70 on the LIE? I'm not going to say otherwise. But I know the place - for me the indulgence of God is in the loveliness of the pine trees that are found growing there.

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  12. To indulge and God is indulgent! Never had it explained to me in that way. So moving and healing. TY. This will go in my favorites to read , reflect and reread.

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  13. When we are in a good place we are the embodiment of the Lord. There is a sense of peace I have not known for ages, it feels so foreign yet I know it to be Gods indulgence. For those seeking may it be fulfilled. TY.

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  14. I read this and I pray. I pray to find the strength to even want to walk through my Holy Door. There are times in ones life where something happens that make you go to that dark place of despair that is filled with resentment. A place that although eats away at you, you don't want to leave because it is too much work. So I hope to gain the desire to find the Holy Door and take the first step towards it. Wanting it and doing it are worlds apart.

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  15. I sooooo understand. But DO! There is surprise and delight and LIFE on the other side. And joy - joy can be had! It's often slow and tedious, hard inner work. That's the spiritual life! I believe in the process - God is there. Check out "resentment" in the archive margin on the right here.

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  16. I sooooo understand. But DO! There is surprise and delight and LIFE on the other side. And joy - joy can be had! It's often slow and tedious, hard inner work. That's the spiritual life! I believe in the process - God is there. Check out "resentment" in the archive margin on the right here.

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    1. I want to believe all that. I will look for what you wrote on resentments. Thank you for taking the time to respond.

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