The Holy Door of Mercy
The Holy Door will become a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instills hope.
– Pope Francis, Misericordiae Vultus #3
During the Holy Year of Mercy doors are to be opened in the Cathedrals of the world, doors of mercy. On December 8, the first Holy Door will be opened by Pope Francis at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. On the following Sunday, December 13, doors of mercy will be opened at Cathedrals throughout the world, including our own Cathedral of the Holy Cross. This Door of Mercy will be open throughout the Holy Year of Mercy for pilgrims to enter the Cathedral, which is a house of mercy. God dwells here in his Sacraments and in his Word. He can be found in his Body, the Church, which exists to glorify him and to lead others to a merciful encounter with God.
You may be asking, “What is a Door of Mercy for?” Each day we pass through many doors: in our homes, our automobiles, our places of work and recreation. Most of the time we are simply passing through, in and out, without even thinking about the door. A Holy Door is different. Rather than just simply passing through this door, it exists to help us “pass over”, to experience the grace of conversion, a significant change in the direction of our lives.
God has been opening doors throughout all of history: He opened the door of Noah’s ark, to save mankind from the waters of the flood (Gn 6:16); the doorposts of the houses of the Israelites, to free them from slavery (Ex 12:22); the door of the Temple in Jerusalem, to enter into God’s glory and worship (Ez 43:4); the prison door of Peter’s cell, to save him from impending death. All these moments in the Bible point to the truth that Jesus himself is the door to our salvation. Christ said, “I am the door” (Jn 10:9). The Wood of the Cross was watered by the Blood of Christ and burst forth as the Tree of Life. When Christ opened wide his arms on the Cross, he opened the door to our salvation. When his disciples went to the tomb on Easter morning, they found an open door – the stone had been rolled away.
During this Holy Year of Mercy God invites us not simply to pass through a door, but to “pass-over” from sin to mercy, from darkness to light, from isolation to communion with God and his Church. When we “pass-over” this threshold, we encounter Christ who is the merciful face of the Father. Just as when we turn the door knob in order to enter the door of a house or a room, when we enter the Holy Door it is Christ’s hand that we take, He leads us. It is his voice we hear, inviting us to be Merciful like the Father.