Beatitudes

Beatitudini evangeliche

Fifth Beatitude

God does not want the death of the sinner, but desires that he convert and live.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy

Mercy is a sentiment generated by compassion for the misery of others, moral or spiritual it is. The word misericordia, from the Latin miserîcors-ordis, is given by the union of the verb misereor (to have mercy) and by the word cor-cordis (heart); It has therefore implied in its meaning that feeling of compassion for the weaknesses and afflictions of others, which pushes to act to alleviate them.

In biblical Hebrew it derives from two different words: from rehamîm, which literally means "viscera" and indicates the deep feeling between two people for reasons of blood and heart (parents and children, or brothers), thus expressing a love almost instinctive and, indeed, visceral; and from hesed, which designates "goodness", "piety", "compassion" and also refers to God's faithfulness.

In Greek, mercy derives from the verb veléo, which in the Old Testament usually translates Hebrew hesed which means "to have or act with mercy", usually referred to God. Always in ancient Greek, mercy is often associated with oiktirmòs ("commiseration"), which can be matched to the Hebrew rehamîm, and splanchna, often referred to as the New Testament to indicate the seat of feelings, or the bowels and the heart that are considered the place of instinctual passions: anger, desire, love.

In its broader meaning "mercy" defines the manifestation of God's love for his creatures, which consists not only in relieving man of the misery of sin, but also in admitting him to the participation of God's nature through grace. God does not want the death of the sinner, but desires that he convert and live. The Mercy of God is the perfection of His action that bends toward the lower beings to take them out of misery and to complete their shortcomings. It is His willingness to work good for all those who suffer from some defect and alone are not able to remedy it. A particular act of Mercy is compassion, while the continuous state of compassion is Mercy itself.

In the Old Testament, "mercy" is sometimes encountered with reference to the behavior of man (Gen 43,10, Sir 16,14), but in the proper sense refers to God. Already in the Pentateuch it designates the attitude of God before to sin and to the betrayal of man; thus the Lord turns to Moses: "I will give grace to whom I will give grace, and I will have mercy on those who have mercy" (Ex 33.19). It is above all in other parts of the Scriptures of Israel that we find the word "mercy": thus David proclaims that "the mercy of the Lord is great" (2 Samuel 24,14), to which are added the numerous quotations in the book of the Maccabees ("He never takes away his mercy ...", 2Mc 6,16) and in Sirach. The prophets themselves sing the mercy of God: "Even if the mountains moved and the hills wavered, my affection would not go away from you [...] says the Lord who uses you mercy" (Is 54,10). But perhaps the Psalms contain the most beautiful pages of the Old Testament on the unconditional love of God, even before sin: in the words of those who turn to God in anguish, we read all the trust of man towards a God "full of mercy with those who invoke him".

The Gospels tell us how Jesus does not remain insensitive to human misery. When he stood before the widow of Naim, a mother torn by the pain and crying for the burial of her only son, Jesus had great compassion: "Do not cry!" He told her. Then he touched the casket and resurrected her son. To the leper who implored him on his knees "if you want, you can purify me", he granted healing. Even to the blind beggar who begged him, crying "have mercy on me!", He restored his sight; and again, faced with the profound expression of love to the sinner who, with the tears of his lament of repentance, bathed his feet and then dried them with his hair, was moved and forgave all sins. The Gospels tell us that multitudes of people resorted to His help: "when evening came, after sunset, they brought all the sick and the possessed. The whole city was gathered in front of the door. He healed many who were suffering from various diseases and cast out many demons".
(Mk 1: 32-34).

Jesus has rescued all infirmities, he promptly responded to every cry of help, he was moved by every misery. The blind have regained their sight, the deaf their ears, the dumb ones the word, the paralyzed health and the deaths of life. And, as if all of this was not a tangible sign of His mercy, in addition to His saving action, "God, rich in mercy, for the great love with which He loved us, from the dead that we were for the blame, He made us relive with Christ: by grace you are saved "(Eph 2: 4-5). What other proof was yet to give of His Mercy?

But there is an indispensable condition: it is not possible to feel the impulse to cure the misfortune of the neighbor, if mercy has not aroused such an instinct of compassionate fraternal love in the soul. Thus the merciful man is led to the needy, offering to the afflicted what his anguished spirit seeks, by his disposition of heart. Mercy originates from love, which pushes the will to share the pains. Mercy is an irrepressible and disinterested impulse of love. Blessed is he who finds himself in this disposition of mind, for it is as if he had touched the summit of virtue. Nobody considers virtue only in the material dimension; if this were the case, such behavioral rectitude would be possible only to those in a position or in the possibility of doing good; instead anyone, by choice, reaches out to the weak, the afflicted or the needy is merciful.

Man does not only need bread, drink and clothing; as Jesus teaches his disciples, we must not be concerned with these needs, because our Father deals with them. On the other hand, man is hungry for love, he is hungry to understand the greatest love that is the only answer to extreme misery. Even where no one is hungry for bread, they meet people who suffer terribly from loneliness, despair, impotence, lack of perspectives. There is not only material poverty, but also spiritual poverty, which is harsher and more profound than the first and nestles in the hearts of men, albeit filled with all material wealth. Blessed is he who knows how to be merciful not only to the hungry, the naked, the homeless, but also to those afflicted by any human misery.

If you also want to be merciful and climb higher up towards the summit of the Mountain, pray to God that fill your heart with His mercy and spread it with loving compassion to all those who, because of their afflictions, do not feel loved by God anymore: we are not alone but we are in His merciful love, if we desire and seek him, He will always be with us.

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