Dorothy Day (1887-1980) wrote, “If I did not believe, if I did not make what is called an act of faith (and each act of faith increases our faith, and our capacity for faith), if I did not have faith that the works of mercy do lighten the sum total of suffering in the world, so that those who are suffering on both sides of this ghastly struggle somehow mysteriously find their pain lifted and some balm of consolation poured on their wounds, if I did not believe these things, the problem of evil would indeed be overwhelming.”
Jesus came announcing, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” Pouring our balm of consolation on the wounds of others does two obvious and needed things: It consoles and lightens the struggle for those who are suffering and it consoles and lightens the pain of those who must constantly see, live and serve those suffering. It heals our wounds as we heal others.
Jesus also made it clear by quoting the prophet Hosea, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.”
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.