Blessed are the Merciful Part 2
What is Mercy?
"Blessed are the Merciful for they shall obtain Mercy" Mt 5:7
"I have not come to call the virtuous , but sinners to repentance" Lk 5:32
So what is mercy? The next words of the "Our Father" give us a clearer idea: "give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us". These requests for bread and forgiveness form the bedrock of mercy and lead directly to the two Great Works of Mercy (CTS):
a. The Seven Corporal Works of Mercy
1. To feed the hungry. 2. To give drink to the thirsty.
3. To clothe the naked. 4. To harbour the harbourless.
5. To visit the sick. 6. To visit the imprisoned.
7. To bury the dead.
b The Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy
1. To convert sinners. 2. To instruct the ignorant.
3. To counsel the doubtful. 4. To comfort the sorrowful.
5. To bear wrongs patiently. 6. To forgive injuries.
7. To pray for the living and the dead.
It is very doubtful that we at any time in our lives have not had to be grateful for one or more of these Works of Mercy, especially in experiencing the joy of forgiveness. It is important to note that nowhere are we expected to remove any punishment justly due for any sin, and the Bible is full of accounts of God forgiving but requiring the penitent to accept the due penalties, and this includes the purification of Purgatory. Jesus warned us of having to pay every last penny for our offences and meant it: remission or removal of punishment can be achieved by us practicing the Great Works of Mercy. This leads to us understanding the true meaning of mercy.
The Oxford Dictionary is succinct in defining mercy as "Compassion shown by one to another who is in his power and has no claim to kindness". God through His love and compassion for us forgives us our repented sins, but this desire is matched by His desire for us to become holy so that we can join Him in Heaven and this requires the rubbing off of our rough and unsightly edges and marks by suffering, willingly accepted, and the Great Acts of Mercy we perform. We need to be holy and shine like the bright stars in the heavens, and to gain Heaven we must have become pure and meek like little children, as perfect as God is.
God does not wish to lose any of us and will chastise us if it becomes necessary to awaken us from our stupor and evil ways. Where does this fit in with a loving God's mercy? Pope Benedict XVI put this quite simply: love without truth is not love.
God will not and cannot hide from us or Himself our evil ways and the consequences. We can even try God's hand to raise His Divine Wrath as happened many times in the past. The most terrible thing He could do to us is to abandon us to our evil ways, and this He does when He sees that no chastisement, including war or devastation, will change us or we find excuses why not to change.
We are now living in a world which is becoming cold in love as demonstrated by the lack of charity in parts of the NHS and more generally by the so-called mercy killing of the unborn, terminally ill and elderly, the perversion of God's laws which leads to increasing crimes of violence, corruption and degenerative human behaviour including the loss of manners. There are many such parallels today and the period before and between the World Wars.
Women are being commercially exploited and financially coerced to forsake their family life and become mere cogs in a relentless, insatiable, military industrial commercial machine, to become consumerists, be consumed or recycled, to act and be equal to men including mastering all the many different acts of killing others.
Women are no longer considered peacemakers protecting the vulnerable, encouraging gentleness. goodness and love in all situations and above all tempering man's natural aggressiveness. As a consequence of the associated social engineering of ourselves and our children, parts of the world have embraced godless secularism in living out "we don't do God". Therefore, like Belgium, they cycle downwards into the abyss.
Worse still in our developed world we have fallen asleep, rarely hearing the whimpering cries of mercy unless some great disaster awakes us from our stupor. Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium says with great passion about the developed world driven by market economics:
"Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase; and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us."
In the final part we will examine the consequences of losing God's compassion.