Definition of Mercy

I would like to define what is meant by the challenge of Mercy.  Mercy is what happens when someone forgives

someone else for hurting them and in some cases breaks the cycle of retaliation and revenge.  This was

the concept I heard while visiting a neighboring parish in my home town.* But where is your home town?

It could be anywhere —  some developing town within a developing country or a well established city

within an industrially developed country.   Wherever it may be, it is always true — mercy wins out.

Mercy is based on the Latin concept of benevolence — the root word meaning “good” plus the

root word “I wish”.  Other words that mean about the same thing are altruism, leniency and charitable kindness.

Breaking the Vicious Cycle

Note that retaliation does not accomplish anything and ends up in a vicious cycle of hatred that

does not end.  When a 10 year old boy throws a rock as hard as he can at his brother in retaliation for some

deed done wrong, it is retaliation.  Fortunately, the rock may hit the brother in the back of the head where

it can do less harm than in the front temple area.  When discovered,  the mother may step in and ask the

boy who threw the rock to apologize to his brother.  After doing so, there is a feeling of forgiveness and mercy

on the part of the brother who was retaliated against.  Good comes of the situation then because of the

reconciliation of feelings and intentions between the two brothers.  It becomes kindness.

Dealing with Pettiness

Has someone been petty with you recently and pointed out your faults, laziness, and even your own pettiness?

It might work out if you simply ignore the person, but better yet, be merciful.  Don’t be petty in return, it

does not help out.  If, after a period of this kind of relationship, the other person asks you as a friend if he

is mean, tempered, curt, or some other quality, answer him truthfully as a friend.   He probably doesn’t

realize what is the actual quality that bothers you about him, but he is looking to change.  After you

answer him truthfully, you may later notice that he does change for the better because he accepts your

opinion about him.  This is a good way to keep a friendship — open communication based on honesty.

After all, this friend may be your boss or someone in authority over you and there probably have been

many times he or she has helped you out in the past.


Mercy is Central to God’s call

In a recent book on Mercy by leading spiritual leaders, the afterword says “Giving and receiving

Mercy is central to living the life God calls us to”.   What a thought!  And it might be easier to

do this than one might believe.  (“Beautiful Mercy — Experiencing God’s unconditional love so

we can share it with others” Pope Francis, M. Kelly, Cardinal D. Wuerl, Fr. L Richards, Fr. M Gaitley,

Fr. D. Calloway, C. Martin, Dr. S. Hahn; Copyright 2015 The Dynamic Catholic Institute,

Beacon Publishing)

Bearing with one another

Have you ever been in a store where the clerk asks you to “bear with him”?  He is simply asking for

your mercy.  He may sense that you are impatient and wish to rush through the transaction,

or he may sense that you are patient and he is trying to reinforce that feeling.  The same thing happens

when you are in line in a grocery store and the clerk “chit chats” with the customer at the head of the

line.  Pause and think — then be patient and merciful, I know it can be hard!

Informative Links  (Explains the difference between Mercy and Grace)

“*”  Derived from a sermon given by Very Reverend Vincent Gilmore at Holy Rosary Parish;

Edmonds, Washington on February 23, 2019.  This priest administrator says it is not his message but

rather, Jesus’ core message.

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Stephen Saunders

Executive Director, Long Term Economy | Member, LTE International Board | Internal Auditor

Stephen Saunders has 25 posts and counting. See all posts by Stephen Saunders

Stephen Saunders

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