We Must Imitate God's Mercy, Preacher Says
Completes Series of Lenten Reflections for Pope and Curia
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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 30, 2007 (Zenit.org).- In the presence of Benedict XVI and the Roman Curia, the preacher of the Pontifical Household said that God's "purely gratuitous" forgiveness inspires and mandates mercy among people.
Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa finished his series of four Lenten meditations on the Gospel beatitudes with today's reflection on "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall find mercy."
The preacher pointed to the example of Jesus as a reflection of his heavenly Father's mercy.
"The welcome Jesus reserves to the sinners in the Gospel and the opposition he gets from the defenders of the law are well known," the priest said.
"Jesus justifies his conduct toward sinners, saying that this is how the heavenly Father acts," Father Cantalamessa recalled. Mercy is "the most salient characteristic of the God of the covenant and fills the Bible from one end to the other."
The Capuchin added: "To be merciful seems an essential aspect of being 'in the image and likeness of God.'
"The most amazing thing about the mercy of God is that it brings joy in being merciful."
Considering that divine mercy is "pure gratuity," the preacher of the Pontifical Household underlined that "we must therefore be merciful because we have received mercy," otherwise "it will be taken away from us."
"If divine mercy is at the beginning of everything and this is what demands and makes possible mercy toward one another, then the most important thing for us is to renew our experience of God's mercy," the Capuchin proposed. This is the "paschal experience par excellence."
"Through a deep experience of the mercy of God, one comes forth renewed and full of hope," Father Cantalamessa added. "We must, in turn, show this to our brothers … on the level of the ecclesial community, as well as on a personal level."