Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Pope's Focus on Mercy Got Me Thinking...

On Sunday, Pope Francis' homily was about mercy:
"I think even we are sometimes like these people, who on the one hand want to listen to Jesus, but on the other hand, sometimes we like to stone others and condemn others. The message of Jesus is this: mercy...I say in all humility that this is the strongest message of the Lord: mercy." 
It's a big theme for him.  And it put me in mind of two great quotes:

The first is from one of my favorite theology professors, a Jesuit named Jim Keenan.  If you don't know Jim's stuff, he's a moral theologian at Boston College and he's really great at taking abstract theological ideas like "faith," "humility" or "grace" and giving them succinct, provocative definitions.

Here's his definition of mercy: "Mercy is entering into the chaos of another." 

The other quote comes from the great American poet Mary Oliver.  "Mercy", she writes, "is when people take you seriously." 

Just two little quotes.  But a lot there to think about.


Carol said...

It's weird: I've been doing a twice a day examen for a couple of years now, and snarfiness, gossip, and a superior attitude were always recurrent themes as I picked through the hours of the day. That was while I was working, and mostly was related to office politics. They are obviously all violations of mercy towards others. I noticed that those same attitudes and actions have not been popping up since I got hurt and had to be off work. I might be returning to work in a few months, and will have to start discerning how I can exercise and demonstrate mercy in the workplace. Maybe I need to recall past examens and find out exactly why I felt the need to be so miserable in the workplace, because I don't generally act like that any place else (including with family.) Anyways, I can see that Pope Francis is reminding us that the bar of mercy is set high by Christ, and I can see that my work is cut out for me.

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