Library of the Apostolic Palace
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
We dwell today on the fifth beatitude, which says: "Blessed are the merciful, because they will find mercy" (Mt 5,7). In this bliss there is a particularity: it is the only one in which the cause and the fruit of happiness coincide, mercy. Those who exercise mercy will find mercy, they will be "merciful".
This theme of reciprocity of forgiveness is not only present in this bliss, but is recurrent in the Gospel. And how could it be otherwise? Mercy is the very heart of God! Jesus says: «Do not judge and you will not be judged; do not condemn and you will not be condemned; forgive and you will be forgiven "(Lk 6,37). Always the same reciprocity. And the Letter of James states that "mercy always has the upper hand over judgment" (2:13).
But it is above all in the Our Father that we pray: "Forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors" (Mt 6:12); and this question is the only resumption at the end: "If in fact you forgive others their sins, your Father in heaven will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your sins "(Mt 6: 14-15; cf Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2838).
There are two things that cannot be separated: forgiveness given and forgiveness received. But many people are in trouble, they can't forgive. So many times the evil received is so great that being able to forgive seems like climbing a very high mountain: an enormous effort; and one thinks: one cannot, this one cannot. This fact of reciprocity of mercy indicates that we need to reverse the perspective. Alone we cannot, it takes God's grace, we must ask for it. In fact, if the fifth beatitude promises to find mercy and in the Our Father we ask for the remission of debts, it means that we are essentially debtors and we need to find mercy!
We are all indebted. All. To God, who is so generous, and to brothers. Every person knows he is not the father or mother he should be, the groom or bride, the brother or sister he should be. We are all "in deficit" in life. And we need mercy. We know that we too have done wrong, there is always something missing from the good that we should have done.
But precisely this poverty of ours becomes the force to forgive! We are indebted and if, as we heard at the beginning, we will be measured by the measure with which we measure others (cf.Lk 6:38), then we should broaden the measure and forgive the debts, forgive. Everyone must remember that they need to forgive, need forgiveness, need patience; this is the secret of mercy: by forgiving one is forgiven. Therefore God precedes us and forgives us first (cf Rom 5: 8). By receiving his forgiveness, we in turn become capable of forgiving. Thus one's own misery and lack of justice become an opportunity to open up to the kingdom of heaven, to a greater extent, the measure of God, which is mercy.
Where does our mercy come from? Jesus said to us: "Be merciful, as your Father is merciful" (Lk 6:36). The more you accept the love of the Father, the more you love (cf CCC, 2842). Mercy is not one dimension among others, but it is the center of Christian life: there is no Christianity without mercy.  If all our Christianity does not lead us to mercy, we have taken the wrong road, because mercy is the only true goal of every spiritual journey. It is one of the most beautiful fruits of charity (cf. CCC, 1829).
I remember that this theme was chosen from the first Angelus that I had to say as Pope: mercy. And this has remained very impressed on me, like a message that as Pope I should have always given, a message that must be everyday: mercy. I remember that day I also had the somewhat "shameless" attitude of advertising a book on mercy, just published by Cardinal Kasper. And that day I felt so strong that this is the message that I must give, as Bishop of Rome: mercy, mercy, please, forgiveness.
God's mercy is our deliverance and our happiness. We live in mercy and we cannot afford to be without mercy: it is the air to breathe. We are too poor to lay conditions, we need to forgive, because we need to be forgiven. Thank you!
 See St. John Paul II, Enc. Dives in misericordia (30 November 1980); Bolla Misericordae Vultus (April 11, 2015); Lett. Ap. Misericordia et misera (20 November 2016).
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I cordially greet the Italian-speaking faithful, with a special thought for the young, the elderly, the sick and newlyweds.
Tomorrow we will celebrate the solemnity of Saint Joseph. In life, work, family, joy and pain he has always sought and loved the Lord, deserving the praise of Scripture as a just and wise man. Always invoke him with confidence, especially in difficult moments and entrust your existence to this great Saint.
I make my own the appeal of the Italian Bishops who in this health emergency have promoted a moment of prayer for the whole country. Every family, every faithful, every religious community: all united spiritually tomorrow at 9 pm in the recitation of the Rosary, with the Mysteries of light. I will accompany you from here. Mary, Mother of God, health of the sick, leads us to the luminous and transfigured face of Jesus Christ and to her Heart, to whom we turn with the prayer of the Rosary, under the loving gaze of St. Joseph, Custodian of the Holy Family and our families. . And we ask him to take special care of our family, our families, especially the sick and the people who are taking care of the sick: the doctors, nurses, nurses, volunteers, who risk their lives in this service.
Grettings in Various Languages:
Je salue cordialement les fidèles de langue française. Chers frères et sœurs, en ce temps du Carême, je vous invite particulièrement à recevoir le pardon de Dieu dans le sacrement de la Réconciliation. Vous y trouverez aussi la force de pardonner à votre tour. Que Dieu vous bénisse !
[I cordially greet the French-speaking faithful. Dear brothers and sisters, especially in this period of Lent, I invite you to receive God's forgiveness in the sacrament of Reconciliation. You will also find the strength to forgive in your turn. God bless you.]
I greet the English-speaking faithful joining us through the media, as we continue on our Lenten journey towards Easter. Upon you and your families, I invoke the strength and peace that come from our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless you!
Herzlich grüße ich die Brüder und Schwestern deutscher Sprache. In der Fastenzeit sind wir in besonderer Weise aufgerufen, die Haltung der Barmherzigkeit einzuüben. Dies ist entscheidend für uns als Christen: dass wir die Demut besitzen, um Vergebung zu bitten, und die Großherzigkeit, Vergebung zu gewähren.
[I cordially greet the German-speaking brothers and sisters. In Lent we are called in a particular way to cultivate the attitude of mercy. This is fundamental for us Christians: having the humility to ask for forgiveness and the generosity to grant it to others.]
Saludo cordialmente a los fieles de lengua española, que siguen esta catequesis a través de los medios de comunicación. Pidamos al Señor que, en este momento particularmente difícil para todos, podamos redescubrir dentro de nosotros su Presencia que nos ama y nos sostiene, y de ese modo ser portadores de su ternura a cuantos nos rodean, con obras de cercanía y de bien. Que Dios los bendiga.
Queridos ouvintes de língua portuguesa, a todos vos saúdo e encorajo no caminho quaresmal que nos é proposto, embora num modo um pouco diverso do que era habitual nos demais anos. Mas Deus, Pai de Misericórdia, sabe-o! Desejo-vos um caminho abençoado, que vos permita seguir e imitar mais de perto Jesus, a Misericórdia divina em pessoa. E possais assim dizer, como São Paulo, «já não sou eu que vivo, é Cristo que vive em mim». Sobre vós e vossas famílias desça a bênção do Senhor.
[Dear Portuguese-speaking listeners, I greet and encourage all of you on the Lenten journey that is proposed to us, albeit in a slightly different way than usual in other years. But God, Father of Mercy, knows it! I wish you a blessed journey that allows you to follow and imitate Jesus, the divine Mercy in person, more closely. And so you can say, like Saint Paul, "it is no longer I who live, it is Christ who lives in me". May the blessing of the Lord come upon you and your families.]
أُحيِّي جميع المؤمنينَ الناطقينَ باللغةِ العربية. أيّها الإخوةُ والأخواتُ الأعزاء، لقد فتح الله لنا باب رحمته منذ أن خلقنا. علينا نحن أيضًا أن نفتح باب الرحمة فينا للجميع، لأنه الباب الذي يدخل منه الله ليمنحنا غفرانه وبركاته. ليبارككم الرب جميعًا ويحرسكم دائمًا من الشرير!
[I greet all the Arabic-speaking faithful. Dear brothers and sisters, God has opened the door of His mercy to us since He created us. We must open the door of mercy towards everyone, because God enters it to give us His forgiveness and His blessings. The Lord bless you all and always protect you from the evil one!]
Pozdrawiam serdecznie wszystkich Polaków. Czas Wielkiego Postu zaprasza nas do refleksji nad tajemnicą Bożego Miłosierdzia. Otrzymując Je możemy nauczyć się jak we właściwy sposób przebaczać i miłować naszych braci. Gotowość do przebaczania niech będzie dla Was nie tylko postanowieniem wielkopostnym, ale również stałym usposobieniem w Waszym chrześcijańskim postępowaniu. Z serca Wam błogosławię.[I cordially greet all the Poles. Lenten time invites us to reflect on the mystery of God's mercy. By receiving it, we can learn the right way to forgive and love our brothers. The readiness to forgive becomes for all of you not only a Lenten commitment, but a constant attitude of Christian behavior. I bless you from my heart.]
FULL TEXT + Image Source: Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation