A Holy Door of Mercy: A reflection

By Ginny Revel
What a magnificent opportunity to make a pilgrimage to a Holy Door during this Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy! The faithful in the Grand Junction Deanery have the Holy Door at Immaculate Heart of Mary parish available as a site for prayer, reflection, repentance and the reception of God’s unending mercy. Not only can we pilgrims gain an indulgence there, but we can have our hearts enlarged by the desire to receive mercy and then shower it on all with whom we come in contact.

After attending the ritual unlocking and opening of the IHM Holy Door on December 13, I began thinking about doors in general and wondering about the blessings of the Holy Door.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a door alternately as a material barrier that swings open and shut, and/or as a means of access or participation. My house’s front door operates similarly, keeping seasonal heat or cold outside, along with wind, leaves, insects, pollens, animals and strangers, etc. It keeps me and my possessions safe inside. But when I graciously open the door to family and friends, I then allow love and welcome to flow in and out.

The Holy Door works likewise, but on an incredibly graced level. When the Holy Door is opened, we pilgrims enter into the fullness of God’s mercy and love. Reciprocally, the open door no longer places any sort of physical barrier between us and God. His mercy is free to spill forth from the church, seeking an infinite horizon and touching all in its path.

A much clearer insight into this image of the Holy Door flooded my soul after reading Pope Francis’ book, The Name of God is Mercy. He simply but eloquently shared his thoughts on Divine Mercy and what led him to inaugurate this “Holy Year of forgiveness.”

He relayed that this idea of a way to bring people together “…stayed with me...the decision came through prayer...and by thinking of the Church as a field hospital, where treatment is given above all to those who are most wounded.”

Pope Francis’ thought is to lavishly offer the experience of God’s mercy to all who simply ask for it, but particularly to those who are struggling or may feel that they are not worthy of receiving it. Asking God’s forgiveness (and confessing our sins to a priest) may not be easy, until we remember that God is waiting for us to come before him and simply express a desire to repent. “God never tires of forgiving,” the Pontiff added.

Perhaps by passing through the Holy Door with an open heart, with the hope for God to work in our lives and to change us into the “mercifying” (Pope Francis’ word) people we were meant to be, we will experience, and then freely share, the beauty and mystery of Divine mercy.