Mercy Matters: Opening Yourself to the Life-Changing Gift

HUNTINGTON, Indiana, June 7, 2016 – Religion professor and media commentator, Mathew N. Schmalz – once a childhood bully – has something to say about mercy’s life-changing possibilities.

With his own life as backdrop for reflections on forgiveness, compassion, and clemency, Schmalz details personal accounts of mercy that show it doesn’t always come easily, but is infinitely rewarding.

In Mercy Matters: Opening Yourself to the Life-Changing Gift (Our Sunday Visitor, 2016), Schmalz’s 12 chapter-profiles each relate a personal experience of mercy which helped him know the mercy of Christ.  He describes his adoption, his forgiveness of his birth mother, and his meeting with the victim of his grade-school bullying, among many others.  Each story is presented in up-close detail which allows the reader to identify with the situation. 

“The chapter on bullying asks the question – should someone who’s been a bully receive justice or mercy? The answer might surprise some people, and I felt the need to delve into this topic since I was the bully – and I was shown mercy,” says Schmalz.

Mercy Matters is a book meant to be shared. Every chapter concludes with discussion and reflection questions, making it ideal for groups and individuals.

It’s different from other books on the subject – because of its concrete and confessional style.

“I unwrap the confidentialities and private wounds of my life in this book, to connect the experience and expression of mercy – in a real way, from real situations – to broaden readers’ understanding of mercy’s transforming potential,” says Schmalz.  “Mercy is God’s response to sinners; and mercy is our loving and unexpected response to others – and to ourselves – in circumstances of need.”

For an interview with Mathew Schmalz, please contact Jill Adamson 800.348.2440 ext 2547 or



Mathew N. Schmalz is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, Massachusetts).  He teaches Comparative Religions and has served as commentator on Catholic issues for print, television, and radio media, including the Washington Post, New York Times, BBC, NPR, Fox News Channel, CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report”, and MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews”.  His scholarly work addresses Catholicism in a global context, and his writings on Catholic spirituality have appeared online in Crux, On Faith, and The Huffington Post, as well as in print in America Magazine, Commonweal, and the Best American Spiritual Writing series. He is married and the grateful father of two teenage daughters.


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