“Mercy” is our name and our calling. The services Pittsburgh Mercy provides naturally fit with what Catholics call the Works of Mercy. We do them every day when we make a difference in the lives of persons who are hungry or homeless, sick or in jail, in need of counseling, comfort, medical services, or forgiveness. Each of us is the face, the feet, the hands of Mercy. When we celebrate Mercy, we celebrate ourselves and the service we provide.
On September 24, we celebrate Mercy Day, the feast of the founding of the Sisters of Mercy in Ireland in 1831. It’s an annual celebration that unites Sisters of Mercy from around the world, Mercy Associates, and those like us who partner with the Sisters of Mercy and do the work of Mercy in ministries worldwide. But mercy isn’t just for the sisters or Christians.
Not Just Us
“Mercy” is a common value at heart of many beliefs.
Mercy is a keystone of the Jewish tradition which teaches that God exemplifies 13 attributes or ways of Mercy including compassion, slowness to anger, rich in kindness, truth, graciousness, reaching out to others, and forgiveness. Rabbi Mark Solomon noted that the contemporary world needs mercy and that God is calling us to be more merciful to one another, especially as we face the “pressing problems of our times.”
In her well-documented reflection, A Theology of Mercy in Islam, Sister Cheryl Camp, RSM notes, “Being merciful is basic to being Muslim.”
Siddhartha Gautama, the historical founder of Buddhism, says, “Do not judge yourself harshly. Without mercy for ourselves, we cannot love the world.” And the Dalai Lama notes, “Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but of strength.”
In all traditional religions, followers are encouraged to practice mercy. The Christian scripture sums it up in Luke 6:36: “Be merciful, even as your heavenly Father is merciful.”
Hopefully you will take some time today to reflect on mercy and find a personal meaning expressed in your everyday service.