Mercy isn't an abstract word, it's a way of life, pope says

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Junno Arocho Esteves

CITY (CNS) — Mercy is not an abstract concept but a lifestyle that invites
Christians to make an examination of conscience and ask themselves if they
place the spiritual and material needs of others before their own, Pope Francis

Christian who chooses to be merciful experiences true life and has “eyes
to see, ears to listen, and hands to comfort,” the pope said June 30
during a Year of Mercy
audience in St. Peter’s Square.

which makes mercy alive is its constant dynamism to go out searching for the
needy and the needs of those who are in spiritual or material hardship,”
he said.

By being
indifferent to the plight of the poor and suffering, the pope said, Christians turn into “hypocrites” and move toward a
“spiritual lethargy that numbs the mind and makes life barren.”

who go through life, who walk in life without being aware of the needs of
others, without seeing the many spiritual and material needs are people who do
not live,” he said. “They are people who do not serve others. And
remember this well: One
who does not live to serve, serves
nothing in life.”

he continued, those who
have experienced the mercy of God in their own lives do not remain insensitive to the
needs of others. Far from theoretical issues, the works of mercy are a
“concrete witness” that compel Christians to “roll up their
sleeves in order to ease suffering.”

Francis also called on the faithful to remain vigilant and to focus on Christ present, especially in
those suffering due to a globalized “culture of well-being.”

at Jesus; look at Jesus in the hungry, in the prisoner, in the sick, in the
naked, in the person who does not have a job to support his family. Look at Jesus in these
brothers and sisters of
ours. Look at Jesus in those who are alone, sad, in those who make a
mistake and need advice, in those who need to embark on the path with him in
silence so they may feel accompanied,” he said. “These are the works
that Jesus asks of us. To look at Jesus in them, in these people. Why? Because
Jesus also looks at me, looks at you, in that way.”

his catechesis, Pope Francis recalled his visit to Armenia June 24-26, thanking
the people of Armenia who, throughout their history, “have given witness
to the Christian faith through martyrdom.”

thanking Armenian Apostolic Catholics Karekin II for his hospitality, the pope stressed that in making the visit
alongside the patriarch, he
was reminding Catholics
of the importance of strengthening bonds with other Christians as
another way “of giving witness to the Gospel and being leaven for a more just and united

The late June audience was the last one
pope was scheduled to hold before a reduced summer schedule.

Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju.

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