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Dr Peter Mudge is Senior Lecturer in Religious Education and Spirituality at The Broken Bay Institute, Pennant Hills and Conjoint Lecturer, School of Humanities and Social Science, The University of Newcastle.
The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
(William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, spoken by Portia, IV, i, 184-187).
These words suggest that true mercy flows and is given freely. It is characterised by gentleness and availability. Contemplating art is one way of observing mercy and being receptive to the quality of mercy in one’s own life and community.