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Mercy


It is necessary to be merciful to those wretched and wandering. The great lightgivers and Fathers of the Church took great care concerning this. In relation to this virtue we must try by all means to fulfill the following law of God: "Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful," and, "I will have mercy, and not sacrifice" (Lk. 6:36; Mt. 9:13). The wise heed these saving words, but the foolish do not heed them. For this reason the reward is also different, as is said: "He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully" (2 Cor. 9:6).

The example of Peter the Breadgiver, who, for a piece of bread given to a beggar, received forgiveness for all his sins (as was revealed to him in a vision) may prompt us to be merciful to our neighbors ó for even a small alms may contribute to the obtaining of the Heavenly Kingdom.

Giving alms must be done with a spiritually kind disposition, in agreement with the teachings of St. Isaac the Syrian: "If you give anything to him who asks, may the joy of your face precede your alms, and comfort his sorrow with kind words."

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