Are you aware that Pope Francis declared much of this year as a Jubilee Year of Mercy? (It began Dec. 8, 2015 and will end Nov. 20. 2016.) In relation to this, there are several churches that are designated as Holy Doors of Mercy. The Monastery here in Rockdale county was one of the churches chosen for this honor.
If you would like to read more about the Holy Doors of Mercy and where they are located (they are all around the world!) you may read more about them just here.
The word "Mercy" is quite often misunderstood. It is from a Hebrew word "chesed" and it is hard to translate. You may read more about it here.
|Door to the Church of Monastery- A Holy Door of Mercy|
|Monastery Door At Christmas|
Sanctuary...it is a word that comes to mind when I think of the Monastery. Did you know that in Medieval England, a criminal could go to a church and would be protected from the law? The legal term was called "sanctuary". I remember reading that one had only to rest one's hand upon the door and no one could touch them. (I have no idea if this was correct, but from the book that I was reading at the time, it made me look up the English law.)
"Sanctuary" from British history online.
Sanctuary was to be defined as within 40 days and if possible, come to an agreement with those who charged him with a crime. If this failed, he had to appear before the coroner, clothed in sackcloth, confess his crime and abjure the realm.
In 1529, in the year of Henry VIII, it was directed that "immediately after his confession, he would be branded upon the brawn of the thumb of his right hand with the sign of the letter A, to the extent he might be known among the king's subject to have abjured."
“This hear thou, Sir Coroner, that I ................................................... of ...................................................... am a ................................................... , and because I have done such evils in this land, I do abjure the land of our lord the King, and shall haste me towards the port of [mentioning a port named by the coroner], and that I shall not go out of the highway, and if I do, I will that I be taken as a robber and a felon of our lord the King, and that at such place I will diligently seek for passage, and that I will tarry there but one flood and ebb, if I can have passage; and unless I can have it in such a place, I will go every day into the seas up to my knees assaying to pass over, and unless I can do this within forty days, I will put myself again into the church as a robber and a felon of our lord the King, so God me help and His holy judgment.”
Visiting the church at the Monastery and placing my hand upon the doors makes me understand the relief that those criminals must have felt.
Sanctuary: A sacred place, a place of refuge.