“Beautiful Mercy” is a still-new book by Dynamic Catholic that commemorates the Year of Mercy with of a host of writings by such folks as: Pope Francis, Matthew Kelly, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Dr. Scott Hahn, John Michael Talbot and many others.
The scope of this writing makes this book truly a catholic endeavor!
The book begins with the premise that we all need a little mercy. Each of us, being in our fallen state, has problems, some more so than others, and, by contrast, we each need to be ready to contribute a little mercy…
The book begins with the premise that we all need a little mercy. Each of us, being in our fallen state, has problems, some more so than others, and, by contrast, we each need to be ready to contribute a little mercy, especially in this postmodern, relativistic, secularizing, narcissistic, and declining society that threatens to drag the whole of humankind down into the abyss. We need only to look at our two national presidential candidates and the extreme morass created by their backgrounds to know that this is true.
Christ, of course, is always the answer, and mercy is one of his commandments to us.
Author(s): Pope Francis, Matthew Kelly, et al
Publisher: Beacon Publishing
Length: 178 pages
Release Date: Oct.15, 2015
I thought it important here to get at the heart of mercy, to understand its true meaning. Matthew Kelly informs us that the word comes from the Latin, Misericordia, meaning, “a heart which gives itself to those in misery.” With this in mind, it seems difficult to me to ignore those in misery like the poor, the downtrodden, and the marginalized.
The book is conveniently divided into chapters that reflect the Corporal Works of Mercy and the Spiritual Works of Mercy. The corporal works, of course, are:
- feeding the hungry
- clothing the naked
- visiting the sick, etc.
The spiritual works include such things as:
- comforting the afflicted
- instructing the ignorant (a very Dominican thing to do)
- counseling the doubtful
- admonishing the sinner (without winding up on CNN), etc.
All of these Works of Mercy are completely counter-cultural, more so today than ever before; they require a forgetfulness of self, an understanding that the commandment to mercy (love one another) is not only binding but absolute. In Christ, we look away from ourselves and cast our eyes on the Other.
Beautiful mercy is that which shines like a light on a hill. It comes in many forms, most simple. Kelly gives several examples of this beautiful mercy. One is that of a family who works hard just to scrape by. The father gets laid off now and again but never stops working, taking any little job to ensure that his four children have food. They sacrifice larger things — like family vacations — for the small things: a baseball glove or a pair of ice skates. When a friend of the daughter’s is tossed from her own house, they do not hesitate to give the girl a place to stay. Simple, beautiful.
The book categorizes mercy in every form: hopeful mercy, personal mercy, tireless mercy, enduring mercy, empathetic mercy, triumphant mercy, and many more, so that we can see that the truth of mercy is meant to envelop our lives completely and become a part of who we are as Christians.
While certainly it is already August, two-thirds through the Year of Mercy, a book like this is not meant for just this year alone; it is meant for all of us all the time. This book is not only an interesting and easy read, but a deep and informing read allowing us to understand how many of our Catholic leaders view mercy.
Get several copies because the more people who read this book might mean more people practicing mercy and might mean a hopeful transition from the world of “Me.” We can only hope.