Library of the Apostolic Palace
Wednesday, 18 March 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our continuing catechesis on the Beatitudes, we now consider the fifth Beatitude: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Mt 5:7). This is the only Beatitude where both its cause and effect coincide. This reciprocal nature of mercy can be seen not only here but wherever we encounter God’s merciful love, for there is an inseparable link between mercy offered and mercy received. In Matthew’s Gospel we read: “Forgive us our debts as we have forgiven those who are in debt to us” (6:12). Both the Beatitude and the Lord’s Prayer help us realize that we are essentially in debt to God and to others, constantly in need of forgiveness on account of our failures and sin. Recognizing our neediness, and seeking and receiving God’s mercy, in turn strengthens us to forgive others, and points to the secret of mercy: it is in forgiving that we are forgiven. Mercy is not one aspect among many, but is rather the very centre of Christian life. As we thank God for his great gift of mercy, let us strive to share with our brothers and sisters this beautiful fruit of charity.