During a visit to Calabria, Pope Francis spotted a sign in the roadside crowd that read: Holy Father, please stop for Roberta, this angel who would like to meet you. And so Francis had the motorcade stop, and he got out and walked over to Roberta and her friends. Here's a picture of their short visit.
In his newly published interview, The Name of God Is Mercy, Pope Francis teaches that mercy is the heart torn open for humanity in its wretchedness. But we must be sure to understand the word: wretchedness refers to humanity in its shame, need, pain, littleness, vulnerability, rejection, nakedness, poverty, fatigue, hunger, fears, tears, hunger, loneliness. Mercy is the heart torn open to the world in all of this. Do you feel it?
Recently I heard about a joint funeral celebration in Ireland for two persons with disabilities: neither ever spoke or walked. Apparently the family of the deceased hadn't been in a church in years.
After the Funeral Mass, as the hearses carrying the caskets proceeded to the cemetery, they drove past the residence where the two adults had lived for many years. Seeing dozens of residents in wheelchairs lining the road and serving as an honor guard, the parents of the deceased got out of the cars and walked over, stopping to touch and thank each resident personally.
Mercy means stopping. Mercy means touching. Mercy means comforting. Mercy means gratitude.