“I have found and have known, by Your great mercy, that the love of a man’s heart that is abandoned and broken and poor is most pleasing to You and attracts the gaze of Your pity, and that it is Your desire and Your consolation, O my Lord, to be very close to those who love You and call upon You as their Father. That You have perhaps no greater ‘consolation’ (if I may so speak) than to console Your afflicted children and those who came to You poor and empty-handed with nothing by their humanness and their limitations and great trust in Your mercy.”
Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude (New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1958), p. 127.
This gives me a great deal of hope. For Merton, God does not desire us to love God with an angel’s love, but with a love proper to human beings. Too often, we are abandoned, broken, and poor. We are empty-handed, with nothing but our humanness and limitations and trust in God’s mercy.
As we turn toward God, by the love of the Holy Spirit at work within us, we rediscover God’s infinite abundance, become ours by our adoption as children. This is the heritage that was ours in creation, from which we turned by our own fault. All the more abundantly restored by our Creator.
In Christ, God enters the depths of our humanity, showing us God’s love and returning love for love as a particular man. He is at once the giver of the covenant (as God) and the keeper of the covenant (as human). And, as such, he is our assurance of divine mercy.