Practicing Works Of Mercy
Imitating Jesus in his merciful compassion for those in need can often mean giving support and company to the lonely, to the sick, to people who suffer a shameful or barefaced poverty. We try to share their pain and help them sanctify it, as well as trying to remedy their situation as far as we can. Think of how consoling it can be for such a person to have a spell of company, made possible perhaps by sacrificing a bit of free time we may have been looking forward to enjoying. Our simple and friendly conversation with some sick or old person, which should never lack a certain supernatural tone — some uplifting news about the apostolate, maybe — leaves them with a little more faith and confidence in God. Tactfully and helpfully, we can offer them some little service, making their bed perhaps, or reading them part of some agreeable or possibly even amusing spiritual book.
Every day it is getting more and more necessary to ask God to give us a merciful heart towards all, because as society becomes more dehumanized men's hearts are becoming harder and more insensitive. Justice is a fundamental virtue, it is true, but justice of itself is not enough: charity is needed too. No matter how much social legislation and working conditions improve, men will always need the warmth of a human heart, fraternal and friendly, which is able to identify with those situations that justice alone cannot remedy, because Christian charity cannot be limited to giving things or money to the needy. It seeks, above all, to respect and understand each person for what he is, in his intrinsic dignity as a man and a child of God.
Mercy should cause us to forgive promptly and from the heart, even though the other party isn't sorry for what has happened or rebuffs our attempts to make up. The Christian cannot harbor any resentment in his heart; he is not at loggerheads with anybody. We have to love also those who are unhappy through their own fault, or even through their own evil actions. The only question God asks us is if that person is unhappy, if he is suffering, because that is enough to make him worth your interest. Try, of course, to protect him from his evil passions, but the moment he suffers, be merciful. 'You shall love your neighbor, not when he deserves it, but because he is your neighbor.'
from In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez Volume 4 pp. 522-524