My understanding of the concept of mercy is rooted in forgiveness. This year, as Pope Francis calls on us to reflect and act upon merciful values, I believe it is important to begin by forgiving ourselves. We are all flawed, and in order to create a culture of compassion we should allow forgiveness to flourish within our own hearts and radiate outwards. We live in a competitive world, and in an attempt to present a perfect image to those around us we often sweep our own sins under the rug. Although we may be able to deceive our peers, are we ever able to fool ourselves? How can we ask God to grant us forgiveness when we refuse to show ourselves mercy?
It takes immense courage to acknowledge our mistakes, from the trivial ones to the life-changing ones. It takes even more strength to learn from those errors and move forward, growing not only as an individual, but as part of a community. It is human nature to be self-critical, but what if we chose the challenging, but intensely rewarding path of self-mercy? We would naturally find ourselves forgiving everyone else in our lives and the beauty of mercy would continue to spread.
Written by Emma Rizk, C’17.