Thought of the day
Monday, March 17, 2014

Monday of the Second week of Lent
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"Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful"

Commentary of the day 
Blessed John-Paul II, Pope from 1978 to 2005 
Encyclical « Dives in Misericordia » § 14 (trans. © copyright Libreria 

Editrice Vaticana)
"Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful"

Jesus Christ taught that man not only receives and experiences the 

mercy of God, but that he is also called "to practice mercy" towards 

others: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy" (Mt 


In reciprocal relationships between persons merciful love is never a 

unilateral act or process. Even in the cases in which everything would 

seem to indicate that only one party is giving and offering, and the 

other only receiving and taking... in reality the one who gives is 

always also a beneficiary... In this sense Christ crucified is for us 

the loftiest model, inspiration and encouragement. When we base 

ourselves on this disquieting model, we are able with all humility to 

show mercy to others, knowing that Christ accepts it as if it were 

shown to Himself (Mt 25,34f.)... For an act of merciful love is only 

really such when we are deeply convinced at the moment that we perform 

it that we are at the same time receiving mercy from the people who are 

accepting it from us. If this... reciprocal quality is absent, our 

actions are not yet true acts of mercy, nor has there yet been fully 

completed in us that conversion to which Christ has shown us the way by 

His words and example, even to the cross, nor are we yet sharing fully 

in the magnificent source of merciful love that has been revealed to us 

by Him... 

Mercy that is truly Christian is also, in a certain sense, the most 

perfect incarnation of "equality" between people, and therefore also 

the most perfect incarnation of justice as well... However, the 

equality brought by justice [alone] is limited to the realm of 

objective and extrinsic goods, while love and mercy bring it about that 

people meet one another in that value which is man himself, with the 

dignity that is proper to him... Thus, mercy becomes an indispensable 

element for shaping mutual relationships between people, in a spirit of 

deepest respect for what is human, and in a spirit of mutual 

brotherhood... Consequently, merciful love is supremely indispensable 

between those who are closest to one another: between husbands and 

wives, between parents and children, between friends; and it is 

indispensable in education and in pastoral work.

Source: © 2001-2014
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