“It is distinct from having good feelings; this is not mercy, it is having good feelings,” Pope Francis explained. “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.”
Pope Francis mentioned this distinction in a video-message sent
to participants of the 14th “Manos Abiertas” (Open Hands) meeting taking
place in Santa Fe, Argentina.
“Manos Abiertas” is a Christian voluntary
association founded by Fr. Ángel Rossi, SJ, in Villa de Mayo near
Buenos Aires, in 1992.
The motto of this year’s meeting is: “To love and to serve” and the theme is: “Mercy: A journey from the heart to the hands”.
“Mercy,” Francis explained, “is the journey of misery to my heart,
taken up by my heart, that moves my heart” but it is also the return
journey “from the heart to the hands”. “The only way to have mercy is to
yourself recognise your own sin, and be forgiven by the Lord; through
recognising sin and forgiveness,” – Pope Francis continued. – “You can
be merciful only if you truly feel that you have received the mercy of
the Lord, otherwise you cannot be merciful … and having received mercy,
you will be merciful.”
Mercy, he emphasised, “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.”