Quotations about Mercy which appeared in Mercy eNews 2016
Throughout the Jubilee Year of Mercy, quotations on Mercy from a wide-range of sources were published as reflection points in the weekly Mercy eNews. The list of these quotations appears below:
'Now is the time to unleash the creativity of mercy, to bring about new undertakings, the fruit of grace.'
'Mercy touches the very core of our Christian life'
'The conclusion of the Year of Mercy is... but the beginning of a lifetime of Mercy.
The initiatives and the focus that we have concentrated on, in regards to Mercy this year, must not now recede into the horizon of our lives.
Pope Francis so often calls for a practical charity and a practical Mercy. The spiritual and corporal works of Mercy continually help us to understand what this means in a more focused manner...
The Year of Mercy may conclude, but the life of Mercy is celebrated forever.'
- Christopher Prowse, Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn
Catherine's Charism of Mercy
'Catherine lived out her days in faith and love, aware of the present, envisioning times yet to come and leaving a heritage forceful enough to keep her Sisters moving into the future. She was quite well aware of her vocation as an evangeliser. She modelled herself on Jesus, walked in His way, and lived in His Spirit... Her charism of Mercy enabled her to break through the darkness of her time and to point out a new way of faith, hope and love.'
- Anne Hannon rsm (The Congregation)- former Vice-postulator Europe and Africa
Works of Mercy
'The works of mercy “reawaken in us the need and the capacity to make faith live and work through charity. I am convinced that through these simple daily gestures we can effect a true cultural revolution… If each one of us, every day, did one of these, this would be a revolution in the world! But all of us, every one of us..."'
- Pope Francis, General Audience, 12 October 2016
'Misericordia means having a heart for the poor—poor in a large sense, not only material poverty, but also relational poverty, spiritual poverty, cultural poverty, and so on. This is not only heart, not only an emotion, but also an active attitude—I have to change the situation of the other as much as I can...'
- Cardinal Walter Kasper in Commonweal Magazine, 7 May 2014
Woman of Mercy
'Catherine understood that God’s mercy received is to be given to others through acts of merciful love. Catherine’s insistence on union and charity in her Institute was her way of stressing the absolute importance of merciful healing of one another and of responding mercifully to the brokenness of relationships.'
-Marilyn Sunderman rsm, Catherine McAuley: Woman of Mercy
Two Verbs of Mercy
‘What it means ...to be merciful?’ ...that lies in living out two verbs: forgiving and giving...Merciful love, Pope Francis underscored, is the only way forward.
“We must forgive, be merciful, live our life in love... In this way, the heart enlarges, it widens in love. Instead selfishness, anger, make the little heart, which hardens like a stone.”
“What do you prefer?” Pope Francis concluded asking. “A heart of stone and a heart full of love? If you prefer a heart full of love, be merciful!”
Pope Francis, General Audience, 21 September 2016
House of Mercy
'Miss McAuley wrote to Miss Doyle saying that as all needful preparations would soon be completed she might enter if she pleased on the 23rd or 24th of the current month which was September. Miss Doyle, though she did not then know of the feast, fixed on the 24th but in another note remarked that she should be particularly rejoiced to begin her labours on that day as it was dedicated to Our Lady of Mercy, suggesting at the same time that House of Mercy would be a good name for the institution.'
-extract from 'The Derry Large Manuscript' in Mary C. Sullivan Catherine McAuley and the Tradition of Mercy p.48
'Mercy is the heart of God'
- Pope Francis, Message for the World Day of Peace 2016
'God’s mercy can make even the driest land become a garden, can restore life to dry bones (cf. Ez 37:1-14). … Let us be renewed by God’s mercy, let us be loved by Jesus, let us enable the power of his love to transform our lives too; and let us become agents of this mercy, channels through which God can water the earth, protect all creation and make justice and peace flourish.'
- Pope Francis’ Easter Urbi et Orbi message on March 31, 2013
To Live in the Mercy of God - Denise Levertov
'To lie back under the tallest
oldest trees. How far the stems
before ribs of shelter
To live in the mercy of God. The complete
sentence too adequate, has no give.
Awe, not comfort. Stone, elbows of
stony wood beneath lenient
'Launch us on the adventure of mercy!'
'Launch us on the adventure of mercy! Launch us on the adventure of building bridges and tearing down walls, barriers and barbed wire. Launch us on the adventure of helping the poor, those who feel lonely and abandoned, or no longer find meaning in their lives. Send us, like Mary of Bethany, to listen attentively to those we do not understand, those of other cultures and peoples, even those we are afraid of because we consider them a threat. Make us attentive to our elders, as Mary of Nazareth was to Elizabeth, in order to learn from their wisdom.'
-Pope Francis to WYD 2016 Pilgrims, 28 July
Misericordia in the Internet Age: Learning to Grieve Online
'While the tweets and tirades can easily overwhelm, I still think they’re doing more good than harm: that grieving together online can serve as a contemporary reimagining of an ancient Christian discipline... online media in the wake of tragedy...may, if we allow it, be a modern means of activating an ancient genre: a particular subset of human sorrow.
In the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, it’s called misericordia: often translated as pity, mercy, or compassion...'
Making Myself Aware of God's Mercy
'For his mercy endures forever' - Psalm 136:1
The above refrain is proclaimed twenty-six times in Psalm 136 in honour of God's mercy. I used to wonder why the phrase was continually repeated until I realized that the psalmist was emphasizing the endlessness of God's mercy by this constant repetition...'
- Joyce Rupp
Psalm 136 - His Love Endures Forever . Video clip by Janet Isaac Morrison (03:15)
Appreciating Mercy More Fully
'Maybe it’s when we’re ill that we appreciate mercy more fully— the relief of the ambulance’s arrival at an accident, the hot meal at the door, a mowed lawn, the right prescription, a phone call, the children’s cards, the prayer, the visit. It’s in these acts of visiting — of giving our real presence — that the geranium scarlet of mercy is embodied and compassion surges in our universe. Mercy is in our real presence, a voiced “I’m still here” in the dark night, in compassionate company in pain, in sitting beside listening.'
- Ann Gilroy rsj, Editorial Tui Motu, Issue 205, June 2016
In Business, Mercy Promotes Learning, Creativity and Innovation
'When leaders fail, you need look no further for the cause than mercy,' says Jim Bright, professor of career education and development at ACU. 'When people fail, mercy is too often seen as an optional response, in the gift of the more powerful, and too often confused with weakness and leniency.
This misconception is not only fundamental but it is guaranteed to derail individuals, leaders and organisations. It is time to put the 10-point business case for mercy...'
Jim Bright, Brisbane Times
The Ten Commandments of Mercy
1. mercy lies deepest in God’s heart.
2. mercy is the essence of all true religion.
3. we all stand forever in need of mercy.
4. having received mercy, we must show mercy to others.
5. only the practice of mercy sets us free.
6. mercy is not opposed to justice, but is its fulfillment.
7. only the practice of mercy will make God’s Kingdom come.
8. mercy needs too to be practiced collectively.
9. mercy calls us to do works both spiritual and physical.
10. our lives are a dialogue between God’s mercy and our weaknesses.
- Ron Rolheiser. An explanation of each 'commandment' can be read here
We all Need Mercy
'We are all implicated when we allow other people to be mistreated. An absence of compassion can corrupt the decency of a community, a state, a nation. Fear and anger can make us vindictive and abusive, unjust and unfair, until we all suffer from the absence of mercy and we condemn ourselves as much as we victimize others. The closer we get to mass incarceration and extreme levels of punishment, the more I believe it's necessary to recognize that we all need mercy, we all need justice, and—perhaps—we all need some measure of unmerited grace.'
- Bryan Stevenson, 'Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption'
Mercy as Relationship
'In high school, I remember the word from “The Merchant of Venice,” when our assignment was to memorize Portia’s speech imploring for her beloved’s life: “The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven to the place beneath. …”
But it was the next line that stayed with me: “It is twice blessed. It blesses him who gives and him who receives.”
An act of mercy is always a relationship, blessing and connecting two parties forever, because it IS a blessing, and blessings come from God...'
-Mary Ann Pajakowski CSC, Year of Mercy Reflection
Definition of Mercy
'My favorite definition of mercy comes from Jesuit Father James Keenan, who defines mercy as “entering into the chaos of another.” His definition beautifully captures both the human and divine aspects of a theology of mercy. God enters into the brokenness, fragility, and chaos of our world in the incarnation, in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. We see the grace of mercy throughout the gospels, but to recognize it in our world we must go out and listen. Mercy is always relational. It involves becoming vulnerable as well as opening ourselves to possibility.'
- Meghan J Clark, Mercy and compassion flourishes in Kenya
Expressions of God's Mercy
'How many are the expressions of mercy with which God encounters us? They are numerous and it is impossible to describe them all, for the mercy of God continually increases. God never tires of showing us mercy and we should never take for granted the opportunity to receive, seek and desire this mercy. It is something always new, which inspires awe and wonder as we see God’s immense creativity in the ways [God] comes to meet us.'
Mercy in the Moment
'All acts of mercy are decisions made in the moment. We are blessed daily with many opportunities to reflect God's mercy through our daily interactions, and to see the face of God in the people we meet along the way, in the market, in traffic, in the workplace and even in our homes.'
-Kathy Schongar, Mercy Associate, Living Mercy Today
Becoming Mercy and Love
'To accomplish this mission of making mercy and love tangible around us, we need to actually become this merciful love, so that we are in ourselves a sacrament of God's mercy for others. There is a divinity that lies at the heart of us all, of every single thing we do, think and say. Our faith teaches that divine mercy and love are incarnate in our every effort to "heal the wound", as Pope Francis puts it, in ourselves and others.
It also reminds us that God needs our co-operation to reach a radically distorted humanity...'
-Fr Daniel O'Leary, 'Become Soaked in Mercy'
'The Book of God's Mercy'
'The Gospel is the book of God’s mercy... in which the signs of Christ’s disciples – concrete acts of love and the best witness to mercy – continue to be written. We are all called to become living writers of the Gospel, heralds of the Good News to all men and women of today. We do this by practising the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, which are the hallmarks of the Christian life. By means of these simple yet powerful gestures, even when unseen, we can accompany the needy, bringing God’s tenderness and consolation. Thus continues the great work of Jesus on Easter day...'
- Pope Francis, Homily at Mass on Divine Mercy Sunday 2016
'Being merciful is about being truly present to the daily human struggle to reach beyond the dark. And that reaching for and glimpsing of the light is called resurrection made flesh. The Year of Mercy is also the Year of personal and universal resurrection'
- Fr Daniel O'Leary, 'Become Soaked in Mercy'
Mercy in Holy Week
'Mercy is the key that unlocks the great depths of the mysteries we celebrate during Holy Week. Let us pray for each other that, by God's mercy, this upcoming Holy Week during this extraordinary Jubilee will be what God wants it to be: the most profound week of our life.'
-Father Roger J. Landry, Mercy Week
Mercy and Justice
'Justice is a deep component of love. Walter Brueggemann, an Old Testament scholar, describes justice as finding out what belongs to whom and returning it. When the goodness of creation, when the abundance of God's goodness is missing, Justice demands to be made known and made effective. Service, Mercy-style, proclaims God's justice to a world, too often eager to wring out, as in: desiccate, or dry up, the wonder of God's Mystery that saturates every person and every thing. Service, to the Sisters of Mercy, IS Mercy, and mercy in the Hebrew sense of rachamim, another Hebrew word for mercy. Rachamim is womb-like love - a very passionate response to where Mystery is being denied the possibility of revelation so that new life may come about. Mercy-Justice also looks at what is and has become worn and tired, and breathes new life into what had been thought to be barren. Catherine McAuley describes this sort of Mercy as Charity: Our charity should be cordial. Now cordial means something that refreshes, invigorates...'
- Maureen Crossan 'Stepping up to Catherine McAuley's dance called "Right and Left" - Higher Education and Service-learning, Mercy style' (2003) p.7/22 (PDF)
'Mercy which “forgets”'
'May Lent prepare our hearts to receive God’s forgiveness – but let us receive it and then do the same with others: forgive heartily. Perhaps you never even greet me in the street, but in my heart I have forgiven you. In this way, we get closer to this thing so great, so Godly, which is mercy. Forgiving, we open our hearts so that God’s mercy might come and forgive us, for, we all have need of pardon, need to ask forgiveness. Let us forgive, and we shall be forgiven. Let us have mercy on others, and we shall feel that mercy of God, who, when He forgives, [also] ‘forgets.’” '
-Pope Francis, 'Divine mercy forgives and forgets',1 March 2016
The Mercy of God
'...I rose up from the acres of self that I tended with passion
and defended with flurries of pride:
I walked out of myself and went into the woods of God's mercy,
and here I abide.
There is greenness and calmness and coolness, a soft leafy covering
from judgment of sun overhead, and the hush of His peace, and the moss of His mercy to tread...'
- Jessica Powers, The Mercy of God
'If we relieve the suffering of the poor with a sandwich from a soup kitchen (Mercy) without also working to correct the social systems which caused the hunger (Justice), we merely pour a bucket of the living water of change into an ocean of deadening problems. Perhaps that is why the Bible puts so much emphasis on both Mercy and Justice. Mercy without Justice can lead to dependency and entitlement, increasing the power of the giver over the one in need. Justice without Mercy can lead to hardened hearts and cold, impersonal treatment of others. May all of us who follow Jesus continue to better harmonize Justice and Mercy in our ministries and in our lives.'
Mercy is Eminently Practical
'For Catherine her charism, her expression of Mercy is truly feminine in that it is eminently practical. The corporal and spiritual works of mercy were always her focus. She understood how useless it is to preach the gospel to one who is hungry. At the same time, when she relieved the hunger of the other, she never failed to help the person turn in gratitude not to herself but to the giver of all that is good, God. “Charity that does not give God as well as material help gives too little”...
Catherine was very aware of the fact that in the end we will be judged not by our sins but by our omissions, our failures to do good. “I was hungry and you did not give me to eat.....”
- Brenda Dolphin rsm, Postulator, 'Mercy the Principal Path', talk given at the Symposium on Catherine McAuley in Australia (2015), p 7
Opening the Door to Mercy
'Opening the door to mercy is a personal as well as a community challenge. Just as a door is an entry and an exit, so the work of mercy is within and around us. It suggests opening our minds, rearranging the priorities of our hearts, softening our judgements, dropping our carefully cooked resentments, reassessing our certainties, chipping away at our rigidity, relieving suffering — and we have a year to practise. As the year goes on we can expect to feel lighter, more hospitable and comfortable, more involved and more joyful.
And the call for mercy is not just for personal practice...'
The Works of Mercy on the Road of the Jubilee: Pope Francis' Lenten Message
''God’s mercy transforms human hearts; it enables us, through the experience of a faithful love, to become merciful in turn. In an ever new miracle, divine mercy shines forth in our lives, inspiring each of us to love our neighbour and to devote ourselves to what the Church’s tradition calls the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. These works remind us that faith finds expression in concrete everyday actions meant to help our neighbours in body and spirit: by feeding, visiting, comforting and instructing them. On such things will we be judged...'
Mercy in the Face of Suffering
'Mercy cannot remain indifferent in face of the suffering of the oppressed, of the cry of one subjected to violence, reduced to slavery, condemned to death. It is a painful reality that afflicts every age, including our own, and which often makes us feel impotent, tempted to harden our heart and think of something else. God, instead, “is not indifferent” (Message for the Day of Peace 2016, 1), [God] never looks away from human pain. The God of mercy responds and takes care of the poor, of those who cry their desperation...'
-Pope Francis, Address at morning General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, 27 January 2016
Contemplating the Mercy of God
'We can contemplate the mercy of God in the simple actions of others; the kind acceptance of our failing efforts, the comfort we receive in weakness, the encouragement to try again, the forgiveness offered out of a shared humanity, the quiet word that helps to lift a veil of depression. These merciful moments set us on our feet again. In them we are touched by that hidden presence of the Holy Spirit'
- Cardinal Vincent Nichols in 'A Pilgrimage Companion for the Year of Mercy 2015-16'