by Clive Seychell, a member of the Service Team.
The subject of ‘Living Mercy’ might seem irrelevant on a small island known for it’s generous heart. As a nation we do not think twice to get our hands in our pockets and donate money when it comes to fundraising for those who are in need. Voluntary work is also quite popular in Malta and seems to be gaining momentum year over year. However, it is important to put our mercy work into perspective. Who better than Mother Teresa can help us in such a task?
One of Mother Teresa’s most famous quotes is,
‘The fruit of silence is prayer. The fruit of prayer is faith. The fruit of faith is love. The fruit of love is service. The fruit of service is peace.’
From the above quote Mother Teresa makes it pretty clear that the source of all our service is to be rooted in silence and prayer. We are the ones who first and foremost need to experience the mercy of God. As we spend time daily in the discipline of prayer to mediate and read the Scriptures, we come to know and experience God’s love for us. As we experience this awesome and indescribable love we are transformed and urged to share that same love and mercy with our neighbours.
Compassion is learning how to see others the way God sees them.
Jesus makes it pretty clear in the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) that our neighbour is practically…everyone. Macarius of Egypt writes that ‘there is no other way to be saved except through our neighbour’. The good Samaritan saw the victim and was moved with pity (compassion), then took care of his wounds (service) and finally took him to a hotel and paid all his expenses (almsgiving).
Compassion is learning how to see others the way God sees them. We are not to judge our neighbour (making a distinction between the person and the action) but we must strive to understand and speak to each other in love and truth. James in his letter writes how faith has to be accompanied by works (James 2:14-26). Therefore service is a by-product of our relationship with God. If we want a clean heart we must get our hands dirty. Finally, the good Samaritan sees also to the financial needs of the victim who was not only beaten but also robbed. Mother Teresa writes that ‘money is useful only if it serves to spread Christ’s love.’
Man will only find himself by giving himself to the love and service of God and his neighbours. Authentic peace is not found in what we possess or achieve but in following Christ’s command to love God with all our heart, mind, body and soul and by loving our neighbours as ourselves. May love – true love- be our ultimate mission.