What is the secret of the heart? It is the tender clement love of the Holy Spirit for every human person. The Holy Spirit, the “hidden” Person of the Trinity, caries on a delicate “love affair” with the soul from deep within the human heart. The spirit yearns to make the seed of faith implanted at baptism grow and blossom. The Spirit, the breath of love between the Father and the Son, whispers God’s loving desires into the depths of an open, docile heart.

— “The Secret of the Heart: A Theological Study of Catherine of Siena’s Teaching on the Heart of Jesus. Sr. Mary Jeremiah, 1995 Christendom Press, page 114”

Open to me now through his body’s wounds are his heart’s secret, the great mystery of love “the merciful heart of our God who has visited us from on high.” What kind of heart do the wounds reveal? A gentile, sweet and most merciful heart! Can anyone show greater mercy than to lay down his life for those condemned to death?

St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153), Sermon 61 on the Song of Songs.

…when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. (John 19:33–34).

The heart is the core and most expressive element of a person. Although strictly speaking, the evangelist does not use the word heart when Jesus is pierced by the lance, the concept is the same. John wishes to to emphasize, not only through specific words, pleuran and koilia, but with his Scripture quotations, that the very core of the Person of Jesus Christ was opened in order to reveal the depths of his love. The opening of the body or side (even heart) of Jesus releases the life giving waters of the Holy Spirit.
— “The Secret of the Heart: A Theological Study of Catherine of Siena’s Teaching on the Heart of Jesus. Sr. Mary Jeremiah, 1995 Christendom Press, page 28”

In prayer, one comes to know one’s self, one’s creatureliness and misery, and at the same time God’s immense love. If one turns the eyes of the spirit to the Heart of Christ, the soul contemplates the Word incarnate, divinity united to humanity. In this Heart of mercy, one comes to the knowledge of God and his infinite love for humanity. The cell of self-knowledge is found within the heart: the human heart and the Heart of God as revealed in Jesus Christ.
“The Secret of the Heart: A Theological Study of Catherine of Siena’s Teaching on the Heart of Jesus.” Sr. Mary Jeremiah, 1995 Christendom Press, page 17

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. — Matthew 5:7

The Old Testament repeatedly describes God as merciful, and Israel is called to imitate God’s mercy. Mercy involves an inward identification with those in need and an outward action of kindness and generosity toward them. In this beatitude Jesus emphasizes the reciprocal nature of mercy—a theme Matthew develops throughout his Gospel. God will show his mercy to us to the extent that we are merciful to others.

Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri, The Gospel of Matthew, Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2010), page 90.

 

My notes: Italics and bold added by me.  The mercy we receive is the mercy we give and the reverse, the mercy we give is the mercy we receive.

Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”  (Matthew 9:13)

For I desire mercy and not sacrifice,
the knowledge of God, rather than burnt offerings. (Hosea 6:6)

“This passage originally denounced Israelites who were trying to cover up their grave sins with external acts of piety such as sacrifice. Since sacrifice was supposed to express covenant love and faithfulness, Hosea said that God desires “mercy,” not (empty) sacrifices. The Greek word for mercy here is eleos, which in the Septuagint often represents the Hebrew word hesed, meaning loyal, steadfast covenant love. Jesus uses this quotation from Hosea to challenge the Pharisees not to allow external practices such as their table fellowship regulations to replace the steadfast love that must be shown to God and all his people, including sinners and tax collectors who have fallen away (23:23). Embodying Israel’s mission to be light to the whole world (5:14), Jesus did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri, The Gospel of Matthew, Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2010), page 134.

 

My Notes: Divine Mercy Sunday 2016. God is our Father, and mercy is not just the forgiveness of our sins, but “loyal, steadfast covenant love”. So loyal and steadfast need to describe how we love both God and our family, friends and neighbors.

You are my God; have mercy on me, O Lord,
for to you do I cry all the day. (Psalm 86:2-3)

1. No greater gift could God have given to men than in making His Word, by which He created all things, their Head, and joining them to Him as His members: that the Son of God might become also the Son of man, one God with the Father, one Man with men; so that when we speak to God in prayer for mercy, we do not separate the Son from Him; and when the Body of the Son prays, it separates not its Head from itself: and it is one Saviour of His Body, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who both prays for us, and prays in us, and is prayed to by us.

St. Augustine of Hippo, “Expositions on the Book of Psalms,” in Saint Augustin: Expositions on the Book of Psalms, ed. Philip Schaff, trans. A. Cleveland Coxe, vol. 8, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, First Series (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1888), pages 409–410.

My Notes: Our prayer to the Father for mercy is the one same prayer of Jesus to the Father for the same mercy. Jesus prays with us, we have the same prayer: mercy.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.