Pope: Pity is not pietism, it is an aspect of God's mercy
"Often the Gospels speaks of the spontaneous cry that people who were sick, possessed, poor or afflicted addressed to Jesus: ‘Have pity on me." And "how often do we see people so attached to cats to dogs, and then they leave their hungry neighbor without help".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The pity of which the Gospel often speaks is an aspect of God's mercy and not to be confused with piousness "that is only a superficial emotion and offends dignity", nor with the compassion for animals that live with us. And "often do we see people so attached to cats and to dogs, who then leave their hungry neighbor without help, no no".
Pity, as one "of the many aspects of mercy" was the focus of this morning’s Jubilee Audience today held on a rainy day, because of which before going to St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis went to the Paul VI to greet the sick who with family and companions who followed the meeting on giant screens. "We are united, - he told them - the two groups, in our hearts and prayers".
The Pope then joked about the rain, talking about the "courage" of those present and remarking how difficult it is to "applaud while holding an umbrella".
"Among the many aspects of mercy - the Pope said - there is one that is to feel pity or have pity towards those who need love. Pietas is a concept present in the Greek-Roman world, where, however, it indicated an act of submission to one’s superiors: first of all a great devotion to the gods, then in relation to children towards their parents, especially the elderly. Today, however, we must be careful not to identify pity with that pietism, fairly widespread, which is a superficial emotion and offends the dignity of the other. Similarly, pity should not be confused either with the compassion we feel for the animals that live with us. This happens, sometimes people have feelings towards animals, and remain indifferent to the suffering of others. How often do we see people so attached to cats, dogs, and then leave their neighbor without help, the neighbor who is in need ... This will not do. "
"The pity we want to talk about is a manifestation of God's mercy. It is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit that the Lord gives to his disciples to make them" docile to obey the divine inspirations "(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1830). Often the Gospels speaks of the spontaneous cry that people who were sick, possessed, poor or afflicted addressed to Jesus: ‘Have pity on me ‘(cf. Mk 10.47 to 48; Mt 15,22; 17,15). Jesus responded to all with the look of mercy and consolation of his presence. In these cries for help, or requests for pity, these people also expressed their faith in Jesus, calling him 'Master', 'Son of David' and 'Lord'. They sensed that there was something extraordinary, which could help them to abandon the sad condition in which they found themselves. Perceived in him the love of God Himself. And although the crowd thronged, Jesus was aware of those invocations of pity and took pity, especially when he saw people suffering and wounded in their dignity, as in the case of the leper (cf. Mk 5:32). He called them to have faith in him and in his Word (cf. Jn 6.48 to 55). For Jesus, feeling pity equates with sharing the sadness of those who he meets, but at the same time personally acting to transform it into joy. "
"We too are called to cultivate in us attitudes of pity in front of so many situations of life, shaking off our indifference that prevents us from recognizing the needs of our brothers and sisters who surround us and freeing ourselves from the bondage of material well-being (cf. 1 Timothy 6.3 -8). Let's look at the example of the Virgin Mary, who cares for each of her children and for us believers, the icon of piety. Dante Alighieri expresses it in prayer to Our Lady on the summit of Paradise: "In you is mercy, in you pity, [...] in thee unites Whate'er of goodness is in any creature '(XXXIII, 19-21)."