Doesn't that sound beautiful? "The grace of tears."
The Holy Father, Pope Francis, once described tears as glasses to see Jesus. I have found it to be true in my own life that when difficulties abound or I have a particular sadness in my life, I turn to God and look for evidence of His presence in my life.
Being someone who cries easily, and someone who has cried in awkward, public situations, I tend to think of tears as an embarrassment rather than a blessing.
Recently, Pope Francis spoke about the fact that the world has chosen war, not peace. Traditionally in Christmastide, we speak of 'peace on earth and goodwill to all men'. We can't help but feel warm and benevolent toward our fellows. We spend a great deal of time and money on gifts for a wide circle of people connected to us, and we feel sorrow for those who go without the festivities and largess many of us are immersed in at this time of year. We sing songs and wear beautiful clothes, we trim and decorate, we shop and bake.
Perhaps this year is no different from any other year, but it would seem, after Paris and San Bernardino, and the tangled mess that is the Middle East, that we have turned away from peace and goodwill. As Pope Francis has said, the world has chosen war. I see evidence of this in my own life when I observe biting comments on social media, near-hysterical outrage at one thing or another, or witness neglect, cruelty, or rudeness as I go about my day.
"It would do us good to ask for the grace of tears for this world that does not recognize the path of peace. Let us ask for the conversion of hearts" - again from Pope Francis. The holy father prayed the upcoming Year of Mercy would bring with it "the grace that the world would discover again the ability to weep for its crimes, for those who make war."
Today marks the beginning of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, a moment of true grace for all Christians. Mercy is, "a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace [...] mercy: the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us. Mercy: the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of every person who looks sincerely into the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the path of life." (Pope Francis. Bull of Indiction: Misericordia Vultus.)
Today I pray with Pope Francis, "Lord, grant us the grace to weep over our indifference, over the cruelty that is in the world and in ourselves."