The Beatitudes – Showing Mercy, pt.2

Tonight we are gathering to discuss the fifth Beatitude – Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.  Please review the study questions set forth by John Stott in his book:  The Beatitudes: Developing Spiritual Character.  In his questions, Stott draws from the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37 and the parable of the Unforgiving Servant in Matt 18:21-25.  If you have not done so already, please take the opportunity to read through these two parables today and think through their relationship to the beatitude. Within these parables and throughout the Scriptures we see that mercy is the very essence of who God is – “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Exodus 34:6. (As an aside, in Islam the standard invocation of the Divine is the word Bismillah: “In the Name of God, the Most Gracious and Most Merciful.”)

I have also attached St. Gregory’s Sermon on this beatitude. pp130-142.  For him, having mercy isn’t an action but is part of our very partaking of the Divine Nature.  He defines mercy as a “voluntary sorrow that joins itself to the suffering of others. . . . in loving disposition towards those who suffer distress.” p.133.  “The merciful person is, as it were, predisposed by his attitude to give the sympathy that is needed so that he becomes to the afflicted exactly what the distressed mind is looking for.”  For Gregory, mercy is grounded within the very Gospel of Jesus Christ, for compared to him, we are needy.  We are to be pitied, for we have lost Paradise and the dwelling place of the angels and instead have been condemned to dwell with the beasts of the earth and to toil. p.138.  But just as the Son had mercy on us so also do we imitate him and have mercy on others.

Dinner is at 6. The menu is fried rice with pork dumplings. Discussion about 6:45. Please come (even if you haven’t read.) Hope to see you here.  

I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.
    Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.
The sorrows of death encompassed me,
    and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.
Then called I upon the name of the Lord;
    O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.
Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
    yea, our God is merciful.
The Lord preserveth the simple:
    I was brought low, and he helped me.
Return unto thy rest, O my soul;
    for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.
For thou hast delivered my soul from death,
    mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.

Psalm 116:1-8

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