Friday, October 14, 2016

Pope: Philanthropy’s good, but mercy’s something else

“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.”

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