Luke the Evangelist reminds us of the teaching of Jesus who says, ‘Be merciful just as your Father is merciful’. 36

It is a programme of life as demanding as it is rich with joy and peace. Jesus’s command is directed to anyone willing to listen to His voice. 37  In order to be capable of mercy, therefore, we must first of all dispose ourselves to listen to the Word of God. This means rediscovering the value of silence in order to meditate on the Word that comes to us. In this way, it will be possible to contemplate God’s mercy and adopt it as our lifestyle.

The practice of pilgrimage represents the journey each of us makes in this life. Life itself is a pilgrimage, and the human being is a viator, a pilgrim travelling along the road, making his way to the desired destination.

The Lord Jesus shows us the steps of the pilgrimage to attain our goal: ‘Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back. 38

The Lord asks us above all not to judge and not to condemn. If anyone wishes to avoid God’s judgement, he should not make himself the judge of his brother or sister. Human beings, whenever they judge, look no farther than the surface, whereas the Father looks into the very depths of the soul.

To refrain from judgement and condemnation means, in a positive sense, to know how to accept the good in every person and to spare him any suffering that might be caused by our partial judgment, our presumption to know everything about him.

But this is still not sufficient to express mercy. Jesus asks us also to forgive and to give. To be instruments of mercy because it was we who first received mercy from God. To be generous with others, knowing that God showers his goodness upon us with immense generosity.

In mercy, we find proof of how God loves us. He gives His entire self, always, freely, asking nothing in return. He comes to our aid whenever we call upon Him.

What a beautiful thing that the Church begins her daily prayer with the words, ‘O God, come to my assistance. O Lord, make haste to help me’ 39 The assistance we ask for is already the first step of God’s mercy toward us. He comes to assist us in our weakness. And His help consists in helping us accept His presence and closeness to us. Day after day, touched by His compassion, we also can become compassionate towards others.

 

Extracted from Pope Francis ‘Misericordia Vultus’ Paragraphs 13 and 14
36 Lk 6:36
37 cf. Lk 6:27
38 Lk 6:37-38
39  Ps 70:2
39 Ps 70:2

This article can be found in Mirror 0815.