Communicating Mercy is a work edited by Dr Jose Vallikatt. The book with the punchline “Let Mercy flow like a river of Nardine” comes during this Jubilee Year of Mercy. It covers “a range of aspects – peoples, social life, environment, authority – in relation to mercy. The Church, which was hitherto viewed almost contemptuously as wielding merely justice, is beginning to be seen also as Mother of Mercy. Therein lies the strength and significance of this immensely readable and timely work” says Fr. Jenson La Salette from Shillong.
15 chapters in the book written by 11 eminent writers analyse mercy in relation to various aspects of Christian life.
The book can be purchased by placing an order here or from the outlets of publisher ISPCK.
Here are the 20 great quotes from Communicating Mercy.
The pertinent question here is how can the Church continue the spirit of mercy for the years to come. Entering into a never ceasing dialogue with cultures as well as creating a culture of encounter could form some important aspects of the answer. Year of Mercy is a suitable starting point for that (Jose Vallikatt, Smearing the Medicine of Mercy, P 8).
Mercy is God’s Love and Character (Stanley Mathirappilli, My Heart Recoils Within Me, P. 47).
The climax of Jesus’ compassion is not in the healings he performs, nor in the miracles he enacts. Rather it is the self-offering of his life, his death on the cross. There is no greater mercy or compassion than giving one’s life for the other (Jacob Naluparayil MCBS., Mercy Incarnated, p 83).
Those who work for mercy should know what is justice and those obstinate with divine justice shall know his mercy as well (Jose Vallikatt, Smearing the Medicine of Mercy, P 7).
If we image God exclusively as male then there is a danger that the male may consider himself as superior. It may also create a wrong perception that those who represent God on this earth ought to be males. This in turn will create unequal positions and power sharing between men and women at home and in society at large (Shalini Mulackal PBVM., I Nursed Them Like a Mother, P. 70).
Even as Jesus was God’s good eye (ayin tovah in Hebrew), i.e., looking out for the needs of others, and generous in giving to the poor, as opposed to ayin raah (to be self-centred), the Christian community has to become generous towards the needs of the people of our times and not just to be preoccupied with the its own identity. The shine of the church is its concern for society’s vulnerable. (Jacob Kavunkal SVD., Showering Mercy to the World, p. 96).
Silence is the worst form of injustice. We perpetrate a “globalization of indifference” in order to sustain a lifestyle, which excludes others. The Church has to come out of its indifference and comfort zones in order to engage the poor. The antidote is solidarity, which is developed only when we recognise the other as brother or sister (Jose Vallikatt, Scholars of Law and Doctors of Mercy, p. 107).
Those in power might have the temptation to violate justice due to their subjects as they consider themselves being insulated by truth and goodness… They may fail to be mediators of peace and reconciliation in conflicts between people and communities under their care. It is through mediation, mercy and reconciliation that justice can triumph… ((Jose Vallikatt, Scholars of Law and Doctors of Mercy, p. 106).
The culture of encounter has deeper spiritual and social significance. The culture of encounter is a covenant culture. Covenant implies solidarity and it creates solidarity, both social and ecclesial solidarity. Though, today’s culture is markedly a culture of temporariness and exclusion, the culture of encounter we foster would create bonds rather than destroying it (Jose Vallikatt, Communicating Mercy, p. 129).
A year after this conversation, Saraswati said, “Father, when I told my aged daddy that I wanted to become a Christian because you are good to my family, my daddy said, ‘Fr. Francis only ‘appears’ to be a Christian; actually, he’s an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. So, there’s no need for you to convert!” (Francis Gonsalves SJ., Avatars of Christic Compassion and Mirrors of Marian Mercy, p. 141).
Indeed, every truly merciful act must overflow from a maternal-paternal gut-level, visceral feeling for those in need. This was Jesus’ feeling when he saw the multitude and felt compassion on them since they were like sheep without a shepherd (Francis Gonsalves SJ., Avatars of Christic Compassion and Mirrors of Marian Mercy, p. 142).
First and foremost we need to understand that sexual offenses are not merely sins of passion but they also involve abuse of power. There is power involved in every sexual offence. Therefore, the victim often becomes defenceless and helpless even to lodge a complaint. People in power should imagine the shame, guilt and depression of people who are victims of sexual abuse (Jose Vallikatt, It Shall Not So Among You, p. 119).
However, if only men are able to learn from the example of Jesus, to share the power that they have been enjoying for centuries, to empower women and to make them as partners in the kingdom of God. Instead of being threatened or challenged by the talents of religious women, they need to learn to tap their resources to build up the community of the Church (Sr Nirmalini AC., She Has Put Everything She Had, p. 156).
What is meant by declericalization may become clearer if one remembers that the church of the future, in contrast to the pattern followed in a more recent past, is expected to grow from below, from groups of those who have come to believe as a result of their own free, personal decision (MK. George SJ., Tend Them in Mercy, p. 167).
The Priest, flooded by the Mercy of the Father and Son, imbued with the power of the Holy Spirit embarks upon a new journey of discovering his identity as a servant leader, a healer. The characteristics of the Merciful leader are: a constant search for God’s will, a humility which really makes him/her a servant and a readiness to take risks for the kingdom (MK. George SJ., Tend Them in Mercy, p. 168).
For a perfectionist, confession is nothing more than something like washing one’s towels. He washes it, then spoils again and get distressed, then again goes for washing…Towel never becomes new, after every wash its quality just diminishes. We need to distinguish a perfectionist’s unquenchable thirst to become clean from a sinner’s heartfelt sorrow about the lost relationship with God (Tomy Tharayil, The Haven of Mercy, p. 181).
Violence is also when the rich become richer at the cost of the poor. We see it happening across the globe: from the rain-forests of the Amazon Basin to the shanties of Bangla Desh (Cedric Prakash SJ., In the Face of Conflict, Violence and War, p. 187).
Death penalty is no solution for any of the above perpetrators; the tragedy is that ‘justice’ seems to be very selective; public ‘opinion’ is so easily manipulated, that the sense of fair play and objectivity gets clouded in passion and subjectivity (Cedric Prakash SJ., In the Face of Conflict, Violence and War, p. 190).
Though human tendency to exploit the earth stems primarily from greed, it is also basically related to their perceptions about God. The genius of the Catholic faith involves in affirming both immanence (God is present within the created world) and transcendence (God exists outside of created world) of God in a balanced way that does justice to both (Jose Vallikatt, Till It and Keep It, p. 197).
If we were blessed to be born in this beautiful world, we have great responsibility to preserve it for the posterity. While we have the right to pure air, water and healthy environment we also have equal responsibility to give the same to others especially to the generations to come after us (Jose Vallikatt, Till It and Keep It, p. 202).
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