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Pope distinguishes mercy from pity, philanthropy

October 10, 2016

In an October 8 message to an Argentine volunteer organization, Pope Francis distinguished mercy, in which the “misery of the other enters into my heart,” from pity, philanthropy, and “good sentiments.”

“First we need to ask for the grace to have mercy,” the Pope said in his video message to Manos Abiertas as it held a conference in Santa Fe, Argentina. “The only road, though, to have mercy is through one’s own sin recognized by ourselves, and forgiven by the Lord; through sin acknowledged and forgiven.”

Pope Francis continued:

If the outbound journey is letting my heart be wounded by the suffering of others, the trip through my heart is recognizing my sin, my suffering, my lowliness and feeling I have been forgiven and have received the Lord’s mercy, then the return journey begins, from the heart to the hands. In this way the journey goes from my misery that has received mercy, to the suffering of the other; from my misery loved by God, to love for the misery of another; from my misery loved in my heart to the expression of my hands. And this is mercy.

 
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