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23 September 2013

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Rebekka Hartmann

I asked a nun once if it still counted as works of mercy if you get paid for it, since as a nurse you care for the sick, help prepare the dead, and comfort the afflicted. She said absolutely it does.

And seriously, sometimes I think it's worth more when you're doing something because you know it's the right thing to do, and not because you want to at all, whatsoever, and have zero mercy or charity in your heart at 4 in the morning, and sometimes people present you with some really disgusting things, and you have morning sickness even though you're in the third trimester, and... Sometimes your sorry best just has to be good enough.

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I take comfort in the thought that I've got pretty much all of the acts of both corporal and spiritual mercy covered, as a mother...and acting out of mercy and charity isn't quite as hard in those cases. Mostly.

I do think that outward action can help form us inwardly, if taken up in the proper spirit (one in which you ask for the grace for the inward movement of heart to match the outward action), so I wouldn't wait until you can manage the right interior disposition to do acts of mercy. Even admonishing sinners...if you are able to do so without putting yourself into an occasion of sin, then go for it...but watch the people who DO seem to have that interior disposition, so you can learn by emulation.

Melanie Bettinelli

That's a good question. I'm not sure you can make a blanket statement about whether it's better to fake it or to refrain. It seems so particular to the circumstances. I do think sometimes outward action can form us inwardly, but at other times it can inflate spiritual pride and get in the way of real spiritual growth and can in fact do more harm than good to the other person as well. Christians acting hypocritically have often done more harm to the cause than good. I'm thinking too of cases like Dickens Mrs Jellyby who pours all her energy into the foreign missions while neglecting her own children.

D

I'm a big believer in doing good out of mixed motives if pure motives aren't available.

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I think I read something somewhere about this

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