In a recent essay for the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Enzo Bianchi, founder of the celebrated ecumenical monastery of Bose, offered a statistical analysis of the words used most frequently by Francis since his election. He found that the single most commonly used term was “joy,” more than 100 times, followed closely by “mercy,” which the pope has used almost 100 times.
Francis made mercy the heart of his first homily at the Vatican’s parish church of St. Anne’s on March 17, and he returned to it later that day in his first Angelus address.
“For me, and I say this humbly, the strongest message of the Lord is mercy,” Francis said at Mass.
Reflecting on the accusations directed at Jesus in the Gospels of consorting with sinners, Francis said: “Jesus forgets. He has a special capacity to forget. He forgets, he kisses, he embraces, and he only says, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.’ ”
“The Lord never gets tired of forgiving, never,” Francis said. “We are the ones who get tired of asking him for forgiveness.”
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Divine mercy is also key to my own belief system, itself forged in a tolerant Catholicism. To recognize one’s need for forgiveness from the higher power, one puts humility first and awareness of one’s failure to love and be all one can be, and then receives love from God which transforms one’s failure into acceptance and ultimately into hope to be a better human being. Without divine mercy, there is no point in asking forgiveness.
Mercy may be mapped from an Integral lense parallel to Agape — it is hugely important to the divine’s embrace of humanity.
(Hat tip: Daily Dish)
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