What is a Merciful Heart?

Faith and Philosophy 34 (3):298-320 (2017)

Rico Vitz
Azusa Pacific University
In this paper, I argue that Christ’s second love command implies not only that people’s volitions and actions be Christ-like, but also that their affective-motivational dispositions be Christ-like. More specifically, I argue that the command implies that people have aretaic obligations to strive to cultivate a merciful heart with the kind of affective depth described by St. Isaac of Syria in his 71st ascetical homily—i.e., one that is disposed to becoming inflamed, such that it is gripped by “strong and vehement mercy.”
Keywords Philosophy and Religion  Virtue Ethics  Moral Psychology  Divine Energies  Mercy
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ISBN(s) 0739-7046
DOI 10.5840/faithphil20178386
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