On the Merciful Heart of Christ
As for me, whatever is lacking in my own resources I appropriate for myself from the heart of the Lord, which overflows with mercy. And there is no lack of clefts by which they are poured out. They pierced his hands and his feet, they gored his side with a lance, and through these fissured I can suck honey from the rock and oil from the flinty stone—I can taste and see that the Lord is good. He was thinking thoughts of peace and I did not know it. “For who had known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” But the nail that pierced him has become for me a key unlocking the sight of the Lord’s will. Why should I not gaze through the cleft? The nail cries out, the wound cries out that God is truly in Christ, reconciling the world to himself. “The iron pierced his soul” and his heart has drawn near, so that he is no longer one who cannot sympathize with my weaknesses. The secret of his heart is laid open through the clefts of his body; that mighty mystery of loving is laid open, laid open too the tender mercies of our God, in which the morning sun from on high has risen upon us. Surely his heart is laid open through his wounds! Where more clearly than in your wounds does the evidence shine that you, Lord, “are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love”? No one shows greater mercy than he who lays down his life for those who are judged and condemned.
My merit therefore is the mercy of the Lord. Surely I am not devoid of merit as long as he is not of mercy. And if the Lord abounds in mercy, I too must abound in merits. But what if I am aware of my many failings? Then, where failings abounded, grace abounded all the more. And if the mercies of the Lord are from eternity to eternity, I for my part will chant the mercies of the Lord forever. But would this be my own righteousness? “Lord, I will be mindful of your righteousness only.” For that is also mine, since God has made you my righteousness. Ought I to be afraid that the one will not be enough for us both? No, this is not the short cloak to which the prophet referred, that cannot cover two. “Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness.” What is longer than eternity? A righteousness that is ample and everlasting will amply cover both you and me. In me indeed it covers a multitude of sins, but in you, Lord, a treasury of loving-kindness, a wealth of goodness. These are stored up for me in the clefts of the rock. How vast in them the story of your abounding goodness, hidden certainly, but only from those who perish! To us however God has revealed them by his Spirit, and has even led us by the open clefts into the holy place.
On the Song of Songs 61.4-5