On Monday, July 18th, close to 1200 young adults packed St. Vincent de Paul’s Catholic Church to listen to their shepherd, Cardinal DiNardo, present a talk called “Endless Mercy, Lasting Joy.” This event, Café Catholica, is the young adult summer event sponsored by the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and consists of Mass, Confession, dinner, and a special presentation from Catholic speakers.  This year’s series is “Reawaken Mercy” and took place for three Monday evenings in July

Cardinal DiNardo opened his talk that evening with a quote from Pope Francis’s Bull of Indiction for the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, Misericordiae Vultus:

“We need to constantly contemplate the mystery of mercy.  It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace.”

Cardinal DiNardo - Wikimedia

Cardinal DiNardo Source: Wikimedia

DiNardo explained that the mystery of mercy is truly mystical and he lead the young community through a meditation, beginning with the book of Revelation.  He admitted that Revelation was a difficult book for the average reader to interpret, and said that it was written in a time of persecution so the author, St. John the Evangelist, wrote most of the book in code.

Referring to Revelation 22 which references the of the river of life, Cardinal DiNardo admitted, “In the end, I don’t know if you need a code…It’s just a beautiful image.”

“That’s endless mercy — the life of God,” he said, explaining that the use of the word “flowing” meant that God’s mercy was constant, ever pouring out upon His people until the wedding banquet of the Lamb at the end of time.

DiNardo continued the meditation by going through God’s creation of the world in Genesis and the Fall of Man.  Keeping in the image of the river of life, DiNardo showed how the entirety of Scripture is “an invitation to Divine Mercy.”  From there, the meditation traveled forward to the Samaritan woman at the well. After explaining how Christ led the woman to living water, DiNardo encourages the young adults to be unafraid to evangelize.  The Samaritan woman only just heard Jesus’ words for the first time and immediately left what she owned to spread the Gospel.

“Look at the Samaritan woman,” said DiNardo. “She runs into the town and leaves her little bucket…she is a missionary.”

DiNardo then continued to explain that it is Christ who equips us for missionary work, not our own skills and education.  Divine Mercy is most found at the foot of the cross, when the Father’s mercy is channeled through His Son.  He exhorted the audience to read Sacred Scripture, even if it is for one minute a day, so as to better understand God’s mercy.  Sharing a story of a friend, he noted that while his friend was a truck driver with a high school education, his commitment to reading Sacred Scripture daily gave him a wellspring of love from which he could powerfully share Scripture.

Recalling the stories of the sinful women who was forgiven by Christ after washing His feet with her tears and hair as well as Zacchaeus who had a conversion after Christ shared dinner with him, Cardinal DiNardo taught his audience, “All mercy is available to everyone; you just have to know you’re in need.”

Fast-forward to present day, Cardinal DiNardo said that the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston had the most catechumens of any diocese in 2016.  “That means one thing; it’s the most pagan city in the world!” he joked.

He explained that it was joy that attracted people to the Faith. He closed his talk by reminding his listeners how much God thirsts for them and that we all must find our source in Him. “You need to be lifted up to the cross,” he said.”To peer into the side, and to see the broken heart of the Father.”