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Advent Reflection: Bishop Doyle on God's mercy at the heart of the family

18/12/2015 11:24 am

In today's Advent reflection, Bishop Peter Doyle, Bishop of Northampton and chair of Bishops' Conference Committee for Marriage and Family Life recalls his work at the Family Synod in Rome in October.

Last Autumn I came home from three weeks in Rome exhausted but exhilarated it had been an immense privilege to take part in the synod of Bishops on the Family

"The backdrop for all our work during the Family Synod was the Year of Mercy. For me, the Synod raised the profile of marriage and how we can better prepare for and celebrate marriage as a community.

"God is present in the messiness our family life and so is the church. At the heart of the family must be God's mercy. Healing the hurts and wounds of the real life situations experienced every day in our families.

"It's in our families that we learn how to say sorry - how to forgive and be forgiven. It's in the family that we experience the extraordinary love of our parents - a love we take for granted and often really don’t grasp until years later. It's a love that always embraces and rarely excludes. A love and compassion which reflects the love and mercy of God. Not authoritarian, not permissive, but authoritive like the father in the Parable of the Prodigal Son who kept the door open for his wayward son."

"In this 'Year of Mercy' let us open our hearts to God's mercy and may our homes be awake to the call to be merciful like the father."

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