Choose a topic from Part 2B:

30. Mercy

1. St. Augustine (De Civ. Dei, ix) says:"Mercy is heartfelt sympathy for another's distress,impelling us to help him if we can." Hence, the distress ofanother, that is, the evil suffered by another, is the motive ofmercy.

2. Pity is a kind of sorrow for some defect. We feel pityfor others in so far as we look upon their defect or deficiency asthough it were our own. And pity stirs us to deeds of mercy. Theterms mercy and pity are frequently used interchangeably.

3. Mercy is a name sometimes applied to a feelingor sentiment; so also is pity. But when mercy or pity ismore than a sentiment; when it is the habitual and regulatedmovement of the soul, acting in the light of reason, it is avirtue.

4. Indeed, mercy is in itself the greatest ofvirtues, and it is said of God that "his mercies are above allhis works." But among creatures mercy is not so greata virtue as charity, and, without charity, would be whollyineffective. However, mercy ranks next to charity itself, and, ofthe purely social virtues, mercy is the greatest.

"God gives us some things, as the beginning of faith, even when we do not pray. Other things, such as perseverance, he has only provided for those who pray."
St Augustine

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"If you wish to learn and appreciate something worth while, then love to be unknown and considered as nothing. Truly to know and despise self is the best and most perfect counsel."
Thomas á Kempis

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"Spiritual persons ought to be equally ready to experience sweetness and consolation in the things of God, or to suffer and keep their ground in drynesses of spirit and devotion, and for as long as God pleases, without their making any complaint about it."
St Philip Neri

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