What is Mercy?

Millennial writer Mike Jordan Laskey has a new article at NCR. He writes:

I vaguely remembered a pithy definition of mercy I had liked in Kerry Weber’s great book Mercy in the City, which I read a few months ago. So I pulled it off the shelf and paged through the first few chapters, and there it was on page 12, where she quotes the Jesuit priest Fr. James F. Keenan. “Mercy,” he says, “is the willingness to enter into chaos of another.”

The willingness to enter into the chaos of another. This definition unlocked my imagination, and I was immediately flooded with images and stories.

Mercy is the Holy Child Jesus Church community in Queens. When a desperate mother left her newborn son in the church’s manger scene in late November, multiple parish families stepped forward to adopt him. “I think it’s beautiful,” Fr. Christopher Heanue, the church administrator, said. “A church is a home for those in need, and she felt, in this stable — a place where Jesus will find his home — a home for her child.” Parishioners have two name suggestions for the baby: John, because he came before Jesus to prepare the way; and Emanuel, which means “God is with us.”

Mercy is the Intergenerational Learning Center at Providence Mount St. Vincent in Seattle — a preschool inside a nursing home. Through planned and spontaneous activities, the kids and the seniors interact throughout the day, sharing in art projects, exercise, story time, and more. Both the youngsters and the residents have a lot to offer one another and a lot to receive.

Mercy is a mother who sleeps on the floor of her three year-old son’s room at 2:00 am because he thinks there are monsters in there.

Mercy is Oakland Athletics pitcher Sean Doolittle and his girlfriend Eireann Dolan, who partnered with Chicago city government officials to organize Thanksgiving dinner for the city’s 17 families of Syrian refugees last week. And mercy is the nonprofit organizations — many of them Catholic — that have proclaimed “Refugees welcome” in states where elected officials have threatened to close their doors.

The full article can be read here.