Hello Dear Parishioners,
Our Holy Father Pope Francis recently sent a video message to a conference in Argentina where he reflected on Mercy. Since it is still the Year of Mercy, I am going to share with you some quotes from that message that I have found spiritually helpful and I hope you do, too.
According to the Pope, mercy is not the same thing as pity. He says, “When the misery of the other comes into my heart, I feel mercy; which is not the same as to have pity, pity is another feeling. I can feel pity when I see a wounded animal or such a situation, but mercy is another feeling: It is when the misery of another, or a situation of pain or misery, gets into my heart, and I permit the situation to touch my heart. I say this: It is an outward journey, the journey of misery to the heart. And this is the path: It is not mercy if it is not of the heart, a heart wounded by the misery of another.”
He then said that mercy is not the same as philanthropy saying, “It is distinct from having good feelings; this is not mercy, it is having good feelings. It is distinct from hands-on philanthropy, which is not mercy: It is good, it is good, philanthropy is not a bad thing, but it is not mercy, which is another thing. Mercy is the journey of misery to my heart, taken up by my heart, that moves my heart; and sometimes it moves so much that the heart becomes like a compass at the North Pole, and does not know where to stop, because of what it feels.”
In a world where we often emphasize what feels good and feels right, it is good to know that the Holy Father is calling us into a deeper relationship with what is true. Sometimes we will not feel like being merciful or kind or giving, or deal with the misery of others. Sometimes we just do not want to bother with people. However, the Lord still calls us to be people of mercy and that requires a heart that allows itself to be vulnerable. Our Lord did not fear becoming vulnerable. He came to earth as a human being so that He could be wounded and rejected. By doing that, He was able to heal the whole world. Our Lord is now calling us to live out mercy in a special way this year, and I am sure we can all find a new way to show others in our lives kindness and love.