Singing God's mercy
Merciful God, grant us the great favour that after death
we will sing your mercy for ever.
Yes, that we sing together with your blessed ones.
Come, you poor children of Eve, come and hear how merciful the Lord is.
As you listen, your fear of the coming wrath will abate,
And you will experience respite from the yoke that is burdening us and weighing heavy on us in this exile,
Where we find nothing except what makes us weep, and what forces us to bemoan the great misfortune that has befallen us.
You know very well what our situation is: surrounded as we are with dangers for soul and body;
Nothing ensures our security, and our heart is always restless and apprehensive about the future.
Listen then and understand how merciful is our God, Lord over all, and trust him fully, and always ask his mercy.
All-powerful God, in your goodness you created human beings for your glory and for their own bliss,
You gave them your most holy law so as to glorify you and to live happily by means of it;
But, to our great shame, instead of obeying this Law, we humans elected to be your enemies;
We loved the world and preferred our own will, scorning yours.
Few are the truly faithful to you, while the number of fools who seek the evil of sin is limitless.
How many sins and offences are continuously committed against your divine Majesty!
You truly are a powerful God, who can endure so much transgression against yourself!
Who could survive, if your mercy were not infinite, before so much evil?
The earth is full of your mercy because there is no gratitude towards you.
We didn’t create ourselves, but it was you who created us, and all that is, and every sort of benefit constantly comes to us from you,
God of Mercy! A true Father, whose characteristic it is to be always merciful and forgiving!
No one can deny your mercy, and those who deny it are liars and have not truth in them.
We are your creatures, the work of your hands, living in disgrace here on earth, a true vale of tears, and we turn only towards your compassion, as children turn to their father.
Your fear does not exist on earth: only those who know you come to obey your law and observe it with remarkable diligence.
Only a few reflect on the seriousness of death, which immediately places us before your judgement seat, from where everyone of us takes what is due to one: either to be with you for ever, or eternally in hell,
In that hell fire which you, in your justice, created for Satan and his evil fellow angels: a damnation without remedy for them, and for all those who do not want to understand your mercy.
How quick you are to forgive, o Lord! How easily you forget the offences committed against you by the wicked, when they call upon you in truth!
Those who do not fear you, do in your presence that which pleases them though it is against your will, and they have to suffer the consequent harm,
Harm which comes from the remorse of conscience, from the loss of peace, which is the only treasure of humanity,
And harm from the fear of the consequences.
You love all your creatures in the order of nature;
But, in the order of grace, you love only those who love you.
You glorify only those who exalt you.
Your mercy extends over all that lives on earth, because you despise nothing of what you have created.
You cause the sun to rise and the rain to fall both on those who revere you and on those who don’t.
But the grace of your mercy is only for those who fear you, as it is written that your mercy is to those who fear you.
And you find your delight only in those who, like you, show mercy; you see that they are imitating you in mercy, and it’s only them that you embrace as your children.
They show mercy to every one, to whoever is in need, even to those who do them harm;
they imitate you, who make the sun rise and the rain fall both on the righteous and on the wicked.
They practise mercy disinterestedly: they don’t seek their own profit,
they don’t seek praise, or recompense, or gratitude, or any other type of hope except your own mercy; they only recognise your image, which is in every human being.
And their mercy is not in words but in deed. They shun no one, and if they are not able to help, at least they sincerely desire to do so.
You find delight in these people and you call them blessed, for surely they will find the grace of your mercy.
You save them from misery and hunger and fulfil all their needs, as it is written that no good is lacking to those who please God.
And in time of darkness you liberate and comfort them.
You are always ready to listen to their prayers.
Among those who do not follow you are people who show mercy only to those they like, or who seek themselves in acts of mercy, or those who could help but refrain from doing so.
Hence you do not sprinkle them with the dew of your mercy: their very deeds are their own reward on earth.
Oh merciful God, all those who fear you, and, hence, obey you, and emulate your holiness, receive your mercy;
but, oh God of mercy, all those who abuse your mercy and sin hoping in your mercy, attract the wrath of your justice.
You are really awesome in your judgements on all people, and you are awesome because you know who is faithful to you, and who isn’t.
Your mercy draws towards your bosom the worst of sinners when they come to know you.
The Prodigal Son, in his misery, returned to his father because he knew how a father behaves, that he is not able to shun a child of his.
When our first parents sinned, you showed us the most magnificent acts of mercy in the redemption of humanity, and in giving us as mother the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is proof of your greatest mercy.
You are all-merciful for you know the fragility of us human beings; you know that we are helpless, you know our weaknesses, and especially the deceit worked upon us by jealous Satan.
You saw the misery of the Ninevites, a population of more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons, who did not know their right hand from their left,
and your heart was moved to mercy towards them and you miraculously sent them Jonah the prophet. He preached conversion fruitfully to them in such as way that all turned to you through severe fasting.
You spared them the devastating punishment, and blessed them instead.
The Book of Psalms speaks often about your mercy, telling us that abundant is your mercy for those who invoke you;
that your mercy is everlasting, and is for all who fear you;
that all the earth is full of your mercy;
that you comfort us through your mercy, and that we should often pray that you be merciful according to your abundant mercy;
that in your mercy you erase all our sins, however serious and numerous they are;
that through your mercy you overcome our enemies, and that we must always trust in you, so as never to fall into confusion;
that your mercy is by far more abundant than that of an earthly father or mother.
It’s a truth that what is good and perfect in your creatures must be much more, or rather infinitely more perfect in you, Creator of all that is visible and invisible.
Now, how can we doubt your mercy when a mere father here on earth can be so merciful with his children?
If one of them offends him even grievously and runs away from him, his fatherly heart longs for this child of his to return and ask pardon.
And if he takes long to come back, the father thinks about him, and if the child returns, though it is night, and knocks at their house door, the father opens when he hears his child asking pardon.
He is sure not to turn the child away, nor does he have the heart to shut the door to his face and send him away. On the other hand, exceedingly joyful, the father welcomes the child with tender love.
How much more welcome are sinners who turn again to you, who without seeing you they ask your forgiveness, contrite and fearful of your judgements!
Yes, Lord, you will surely embrace them for it is not your nature to spurn a contrite and humbled heart, as you yourself revealed to us in Holy Scripture.
Those who come to know you, oh All-powerful and Good Lord — and you alone are truly omnipotent and good — cannot but love you; cannot but fear you.
People love those who love them: now who has loved them not only as much as you did, but in like manner?
Who could, or can, grant them the benefit of their own existence and conservation?
That’s why they should love you, not only because you deserve to be loved in yourself, but also because they perceive that all benefits come from you.
And how can they not hold you in awe when they consider your astonishing deeds?
Those who come to know you thank unceasingly your goodness and mercy, and, admitting their ingratitude towards you, they feel contrite and ask your forgiveness.
Here on earth we continually experience your justice and your mercy.
Your justice fills us with fear, but your mercy comforts and consoles us, and encourages us to call upon you as children, much impressed by the love of their father.
It’s a characteristic of yours to be always merciful and forgiving, because you are love, and mercy emanates from love.
Your mercy recognises the misery that came upon us through original sin, which threw us into a vast ocean of woe, wounded in soul and body.
And you order us to imitate you in the practice of mercy: you want us to have, like you, a merciful heart.
Your mercy doesn’t even shun the enemies of your holy and awesome name, who are sorry and turn to you.
You reject no one who invokes you in truth.
In our human eyes, it’s almost unbelievable that you should give in to those who dishonour your Majesty;
yes, you relent, because you desire to have them in heaven, enjoying your eternal glory.
You bend low by giving them the grace of contrition so as to be able to turn to you.
The blessed of heaven do not cease thanking and singing eternally your mercy.
Here on earth they came to know you, and they reflected upon the countless benefits that you bestowed upon them, and in gratitude they cherished your Law as the source of true happiness.
When sinners learn about your mercy, they feel the urge to abandon all creatures in order to embrace you, their Creator.
Nobody is afraid to come to you for forgiveness when they think about the wonders of your mercy,
when they reflect that you shun no one who trusts in you, even though the enemy of souls tries hard to discourage them by bringing to mind their serious and numerous sins.
The enemies of your name, Satan and his evil angels, never experienced your mercy, instead they tasted the severity of your justice.
After their fall, you eternally exiled them in hell without any hope of freedom;
but after their disgrace human beings found the solace of your truly impressive mercy.
For their salvation, you performed the prodigious deed of your mercy, and your grace was bestowed upon them.
At the very moment of our shame, when we had aroused your angry against us, you did not forget your compassion. You exercised it, and immediately you promised a Redeemer worthy to bring us favour.
As it is written, when you are angry — and always justly so — you remember your mercy.
Your justice and your mercy are both exercised upon all human beings.
However, on Satan and his evil cohort you exercised only justice.
Your justice makes people afraid, and this fear draws upon them your compassion.
O Lord, Satan and the devils have faith in you, and they tremble without any hope of mercy condemned as they are to eternal damnation.
While they are on earth, in this vale of tears, human beings receive your mercy when they stand in awe of your justice,
as it is written that the mercy of God is from age to age to those who fear him.
You created us for yourself so as to live for ever with you, and we will never die if we respect your justice.
Satan, murderous since his origin, immensely jealous of us human beings, deceitfully introduced sin and death among us.
To counteract this humiliation which fell upon us through original sin, you bestowed on us the treasure of your compassion.
O God, incomprehensible in your judgements and in everything, you horrendously hate sin, but allow it, though you never desire it.
You permit it out of your wisdom which no one can unravel or fathom.
You allow sin so that you exercise your justice, and so that afterwards you can shower the earth with your infinite mercy.
In your most profound knowledge and wisdom, you allow the cursed sin because you want that which comes out of it since this consequence is not sinful.
It is a truth that sin goes against you, that it is a real adversary of yours since were it possible sin would destroy you.
It doesn’t destroy you because you yourself are substantial and eternal life, and nothing, no evil, can touch you.
Those who sin are, on their part, trying to cause your ruin, and hence the wickedness of sin deserves eternal punishment.
It is a truth that sin is the sole root of all grief: there is no other evil except sin.
You are a merciful God, truly our father, and we are your creatures, the work of your hands, who live disgraced here on earth, this vale of tears,
yes, you are God of compassion and father of mercy.
Now, were it not for sin, you wouldn’t have occasion to exercise the divine attribute of your mercy,
since there is nothing but our misery, the consequence of sin, which is the only object of your compassion.
You are God, lacking no perfection: you eternal, omnipotent, good, just and merciful, immutable and so on, and above all you are an infinite and incomprehensible Being.
No one can really understand, neither your infinite substance and your thoughts, nor your judgements,
though we can come to know you through the deeds of your hands, and through the truths revealed to us by your Church.
We came to know your infinite mercy, and this makes us recognise you as a true Lord who needs nothing and no one, a devoted father, always engrossed in serving your creatures.
We need you in everything, both for our spiritual and bodily life; yes, we need you, and we turn to no one except to you.
Every morning you make the sun rise, and, when needed, you send the rain; you grant us benefits; you take care of us.
All the earth is full of your mercy.
Your compassion does not touch those persons whose heart is full of anger.
As it is written, anger does not know of mercy.
You decreed explicitly that vengeance belongs to you alone: it’s yours by right and of no one else.
You rigorously decreed that people should forgive one another, and forgive from their heart, tying to that the frightening condition
that you yourself will not forgive their sins but send them to share eternal damnation with Satan and his evil angels.
This is what happens to people who do not heed your decree for forgiveness, which makes us like you in this characteristic of being compassionate and merciful.
You decreed that you forgive those who forgive, and that you forget all their offences and even forgive any punishment they deserve.
You forgive us as we forgive.
O Lord, grant us this grace: that we never pay back evil with evil, but that, like you, we render good for evil.
Yes, first of all we should forgive out of respect for your word, and then because it serves us right since we have sinned a lot by thought, word and deed.
We ought rightfully to thank you whenever you afford us an occasion of forgiveness.
We should really appreciate such an occasion because we deem it of sure benefit for our eternal salvation.
Lord, you do not forgive those who pardon simply out of fear of some more serious harm here on earth,
those who pardon their adversaries lest they reveal some crime hidden from civil justice.
In your sight, it’s not virtue by itself which is meritorious, but its motive.
You taught us that you treat us human beings as we treat others;
measure for measure: mercy for mercy, and vengeance for vengeance.
Our fallen human nature is vindictive; we naturally hate those who hate us, and we would much rather gratify ourselves than please you, O Holy God.
What is impossible for us is very much possible for you.
There is no shred of a doubt that you love in a manner in which only God can love; you love us human beings, and you care for our salvation; indeed you don’t desire even one of us to be lost.
Hence, in your infinite mercy you redeemed us through the most stupendous of remedies.
Marvellously, you created us and gave us dignity as human beings, but in a more excellent way, through your redemption, you healed us and exalted us by means of sanctifying grace.
Men and women, why do you grumble when this heavenly Father dispenses undesirable things upon you?
When burdened by the cross, why do you sense only his justice, but not his mercy?
Don’t you understand that what you now see as ugly, you will later on view as beautiful?
Justice, inevitably reaches everybody.
Whoever you are, as a human being you must suffer — a condition put on human nature by original sin.
Since by sinning we offend God, we are bound to suffer because God’s justice demands retribution.
We must also suffer as people predestined for eternal life.
Lord, in all sufferings, your servants are conscious of your justice, but also of your abundant compassion.
They come to experience suffering as an embrace of your mercy.
How many people, because of their infirmities, turned to you sincerely converted!
How many souls became convinced of the vanity of the world because of some accident, and adopted a virtuous life!
How many persons through suffering understood the viciousness of sin, and cursed it as their sole and real enemy!
Isn’t all this part and parcel of God’s compassion, by means of which we enter into eternal life?
Yes, O Lord, your mercy pervades all and everything, and everybody becomes the subject of your compassion even as the blows of your justice fill the soul with fear of eternity.
Only those who do not want to be saved, the intransigent sinners, are not saved by you.
O Lord, at the moment of temptation, remind us of your Justice, but, if unfortunately we sin, help us remember your infinite Mercy.