Francis has performed the final act marking the conclusion of the extraordinary Jubilee. But the time of mercy continues
"O Key of David and Scepter of the House of Israel; you open and no man closes; you close and no man opens. Come, and deliver from the chains of prison those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death." Just after the schola cantorum finished pronouncing this verse, Francis closed the heavy Holy Door, having stood before it in silent prayer. The very same Door he opened during the inauguration of the Extraordinary Year of Mercy, just under a year ago, on 8 December 2015, in the presence of his predecessor.
It is thus that a widely celebrated Jubilee - experienced in all dioceses across the world, not just Rome - came to an end. A Jubilee that was not marked by grand events but a widespread invitation to conversion. Although it would be impossible to give precise figures, there are many testimonies that show a significant rise in the number of confessions. And although the Holy Year is drawing to an end, the time of mercy is not: on Monday 21 November, the Apostolic Letter "Misericordia er Misera" is being published. This letter is intended by Francis as a sign, that although the Holy Door is closing, the merciful action of God and Church will continue.
In "The Name of God is Mercy", the book Francis published in January 2016, he said: "Yes, I believe that this is a time of mercy. The Church is showing her maternal side, her motherly face, to a humanity that is wounded. She does not wait for the wounded to knock on her doors, she looks for them on the streets, she gathers them in, she embraces them, she takes care of them, she makes them feel loved, And so, as I said, and I am ever more convinced of it, this is a kairós, our era is a kairós of mercy, a time of opportunity."