The Meaning of Mercy
In this week’s chapter, Kerry is seeking for a meaning of the word ‘mercy’ and what implications it has on her Lenten efforts. She has decided to spend her Lent trying to accomplish the 7 Corporal Works of Mercy. She mentions the following quote from St. Basil the Great as a possible meaning. “The bread which you do not use is the bread of the hungry; the garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of him who is naked; the shoes that you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot; the money that you keep locked away is the money of the poor; the acts of charity that you do not perform are so many injustices that you commit.”
As Kerry admits in the chapter, the quote is a hard pill to swallow. I have heard variations of it before from various saints and present-day clergy. It calls into question the idea that failing to act is itself an injustice. If this is the case, I’m sure I have already committed a multitude of injustices in my short lifetime.
For your reflection:
What do you think of the quote from St Basil?
What does the word ‘mercy’ mean to you?