Mercy at the End of Mercy

As early as the academic rigor that fell upon my fragile logical sensibilities, I was posed of an ongoing – that gets larger in the future – threat that bemoans the Catholic Church: that sometime in the future, the Islamic world will have expanded not only two-fold but ten more than Christianity – and all its fractured denominations – in an expanse of a decade or two. For an Israelite, that’s  one generation; in short, a generation more until Christianity would have been powerless, and its central command in the Vatican lose (or not bother much to) control of its diminishing and lessening faithful in parishes and dioceses. That is the darkest road, the finale of nights when the droplets of water that in the mightiest of might might slowly crack the rock of Peter. Nevertheless, no matter how I look at it that time, I am still surprised at the reaction the speaker wanted us to feel; and yet given the time that philosophy was not yet the beacon with which I had hoped to lock myself into at that very moment, I was also not fanatic enough to calm myself of the open road still ahead. Now that the memory hit me, the problem as I think of it today is not a passive-aggressive threat: that it seems to be a Cold War type postmodern crusade of the Muslims with their exponential numeric increase by their matrimonial laws. Nor was it a threat that would render the Church into becoming a minority; that would take at least half a century or so, assuming if there is another Nietzsche who would cut off the head and vanquish the shadow for real this time. Instead it was a human threat, an angst created by the upcoming expansion that gets real by the moment: exactly as how Monsignor Carlo Liberati, Archbishop Emeritus of Pompeii, prophesies on the thread that leads to an Islamic Europe to come.

The fact that the nature of human civilizations today thrive on the extreme cut off for less patience and involvement with what is right to be done rather than what needs to be is clearly an indication that the disparity of rights and the basic need for survival has ceased to inhibit the difference. Virtue as the golden mean made some progressions using the balance of probabilities but noble words, profound silence, and sincere prayers in the eyes of such civilization can nothing but mean babbling words, condescending silence, and nothing-extraordinary wishful thinking. If there is a sense in which the truth can reveal itself more rarely than simply, it shall not come in the mouth of the proud, the ambitious, or the successfully convincing rhetoric; rather it is to be found in one who is always begging for mercy. The pope has closed the doors but the hearts that open it shall have to make it remain open as it should be. The season of mercy must not become another season that gets outdated as a rusty old theme park. If the world does not see much of the solemnity and sacredness that the institution of the risen Christ erected in the banquet of His Body and Blood, then faith has surely loosened its sight and the project of preaching will fail to impress even more that it gets pressed on.

Apart from being consciously flattered and patronized, people cannot tolerate being rushed in matters of great importance in their lives and such mentality puts humanity in the middle of a weighing scale, playing judge and jury over others while playing the victim in themselves. It is a saddening reality, now that paradoxes are everywhere. One move of the blind justice balance beam and what outweighs directs to the other a side-effect. From this vantage point, the lens of mercy veils instead of unveils the perspective of looking straight into the goodness of the human heart. In the eyes of indecision and quick bias, the end of mercy resides in lady justices becoming bigots and evasively dodging judgment, the first rational conclusion an enlightened one veers but is definitely not as what the existential one proposes. In each corner of human judgment, there sits a room for oneself too – one that drags the position by which Camus labels as being a judge-penitent, for there aren’t no exemptions in the scale: everyone is marked by the sign of the Libra, a pattern one can easily surmise in Berkeley and Foucault as well – the idea that in essence and existence, to perceive and to wield the eye of power is not for a few to do but for everyone and that is humanity in general.

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Unless we understand that humanity is always at the mercy of humanity itself, the caretakers by which God entrusted the earth, everyone, not excluding religion, is a threat. And here Foucault asserts his point: everything is not bad but dangerous. Without discipline, without the patience to endure life and its vigorous temptation of withdrawal to incredulity, without the hope that lingers on in the façade of human misery and turmoil, we are losing a victory one by one as the battles come off lost every single time at the sight of the despairing. The Archbishop pointed a careful thoughtfulness for migrants – but most of program prescriptions are now beyond the charity that is limited in a policy scale isn’t it? All religions abide in the order of humaneness, love, and peace: at the bottom of this is the mercy that unites us all. Not the kind of mercy that desperately craves for attention: the wish that more adherents will enlist to membership and continuing support. Rather, the kind of mercy that does not look at fellow humans as threats but as coworkers of the vineyard God has commended to each, be it a practical way of life or a spiritual one. As there is a sure mystery struggling to be named in the mind of the heathen and the perplexed, the final puzzle is to put back the pieces of human vulnerability into seeking mercy within the labyrinthine walls of one’s stony and afraid-to-be-hurt-again heart.

The quantity of followers or the infinite number of times one is mistaken and pardoned is not the problem, not even the circles that shape the modes of what this roundabout trap seems to be. What is at stake is the loss of clemency and the initial failures to be truly humble in seeking so.

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