Being merciful not only is at the heart of Christianity, but it frees us and makes us happy.
Today, Pope Francis made this observation from his papal library, where he gave a virtual, televised General Audience, as concerns over the Coronavirus has put all of Italy on lockdown.
Francis continued his new series of catechesis, on the Beatitudes in Matthew’s Gospel, and today specifically the Fifth Beatitude: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Mt 5:7).
Pointing out that this is the only Beatitude where both its cause and effect coincide, the Pope who dedicated a Jubilee Year to mercy said mercy’s reciprocal nature can be seen not only here “but wherever we encounter God’s merciful love,” since there is an inseparable link between mercy offered and mercy received.
The Holy Father departed from his planned remarks to recall how he spoke about mercy during his first Angelus, and how mercy he recognized as being an essential part of his pontificate.
Below is the Vatican-provided text of the Pope’s summary.
Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our continuing catechesis on the Beatitudes, we now consider the fifth Beatitude: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Mt 5:7). This is the only Beatitude where both its cause and effect coincide. This reciprocal nature of mercy can be seen not only here but wherever we encounter God’s merciful love, for there is an inseparable link between mercy offered and mercy received. In Matthew’s Gospel we read: “Forgive us our debts as we have forgiven those who are in debt to us” (6:12). Both the Beatitude and the Lord’s Prayer help us realize that we are essentially in debt to God and to others, constantly in need of forgiveness on account of our failures and sin. Recognizing our neediness, and seeking and receiving God’s mercy, in turn strengthens us to forgive others, and points to the secret of mercy: it is in forgiving that we are forgiven. Mercy is not one aspect among many, but is rather the very centre of Christian life. As we thank God for his great gift of mercy, let us strive to share with our brothers and sisters this beautiful fruit of charity.
I greet the English-speaking faithful joining us through the media, as we continue on our Lenten journey towards Easter. Upon you and your families, I invoke the strength and peace that come from our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless you![Vatican-provided English text]