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Pope at Santa Marta: Works of mercy are not only monetary, but also suffering with others

2017-06-05

In his morning homily at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis centered his message on works of mercy. He said that they consist of more than just monetary donations to ease one's conscious. 

POPE FRANCIS
"A work of mercy is not doing something to ease consciousness; to do a work of good so I am more calm, to take a weight off myself... No! It is also to sympathize in the pain of others. Sharing and sympathy, they go together. It's mercifulness, one who knows how to share and also sympathize with other people's problems.”

The pope acknowledged this can be a risk, and used the example of Pope Pius XII during the Holocaust, who "hid the Jews, so they were not killed, so that they would not be deported.  But it was a work of mercy to save the lives of those people! To risk for them.”

SUMMARY OF POPE'S HOMILY IN ENGLISH
Source: Vatican Radio

"Doing works of mercy doesn’t mean just giving coins to assuage our consciences. Rather, it means sharing in the suffering of others, even at personal cost to ourselves. In the first reading from the book of Tobit, or Tobias,  Tobit was saddened and wept at the murder of a Jewish kinsman, whose body he brought inside to bury after sunset.”
 
"We do not do works of mercy to assuage our consciences, to make us feel better. Rather, the merciful person is the one who has pity on others and shares in their suffering. We must ask ourselves, am I generous? Do I know how to put myself in another person’s shoes? Do I suffer when I see another person in difficulty?”
 
"The Jews in the bible reading had been deported to Assyria and were not allowed a proper burial. Therefore Tobit risked being killed too – just as we must also take risks as we carry out works of mercy. Also like Pope Pius XII in the Second World War, who risked his own life to save Jews from deportation and death. Those who carry out works of mercy must take risks, but they may also be mocked by others. Doing works of mercy also means being willing to be inconvenienced, just as Our Lord was inconvenienced – all the way to the Cross – to show mercy to us.”
 
"We do works of mercy for others because we know that we have been shown mercy by Our Lord first. We think about our mistakes, our sins, and how the Lord has forgiven us, so we do the same with our brothers and sisters. Works of mercy keep us away from egoistic behavior and help us imitate Jesus more closely.”