Mercy received must be mercy shared, pope says at audience

Pope Francis greets the faithful as he arrives to lead his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Aug. 10. (CNS/Reuters)

Pope Francis greets the faithful as he arrives to lead his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Aug. 10. (CNS/Reuters)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — God’s mercy is infectious and must be shared with others, Pope Francis said.

Mercy is “a journey that departs from the heart to arrive at the hands,” the pope said Aug. 10 at his weekly general audience.

In his main audience talk, Pope Francis focused on the Gospel story of Jesus raising from the dead the son of the widow of Nain, giving renewed hope not just to the woman and her son, but to all.

“The powerful word of Jesus can make us rise again and takes us, too, from death to life,” the pope said. “His word revives us, gives hope, refreshes weary hearts and opens us to a vision of the world and of life that goes beyond suffering and death.”

Pope Francis ended his main talk by insisting that “Jesus watches you, heals you with his mercy and says, ‘Arise,’ and your heart is new.”

“And what do I do now with this new heart healed by Jesus?” he asked. “I do the works of mercy with my hands and I try to help, to heal the many who are in need. Mercy is a journey that departs from the heart and arrives at the hands, at the works of mercy.”

Greeting Italian visitors at the end of the audience, the pope returned to his point about how the experience of mercy must lead Christians to concrete acts of mercy toward others.

Recently, he said, a bishop told him that in his cathedral, there is not just one Holy Door designated for the Year of Mercy, but two.

One Holy Door is an entrance, the doorway people pass through to ask for God’s forgiveness and receive it in the sacraments. The other door is an exit, “to go out and bring God’s mercy to others with the works of mercy. This bishop is intelligent, isn’t he?” the pope said.

“In our hearts we receive the mercy of Jesus, who gives us pardon because God forgives everything, everything,” the pope said. “He raises us up. He gives us new life and he also infects us with his compassion. From our hearts forgiven and healed, and with the compassion of Jesus, the journey toward our hands begins, that it, toward the works of mercy.”

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Follow Wooden on Twitter @Cindy_Wooden

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