Juan Martinez Montanes 'Cristo de los Calices' - Seville Cathedral
I will remember the tender mercies of the Lord, the praise of the Lord for all the things that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and for the multitude of His good things to the house of Israel, which he hath given them according to His kindness, and according to the multitude of His mercies. And He said: Surely they are my people, children that will not deny - so He became their Saviour....And in His mercy He redeemed them, and He carried them and lifted them up. (Isa 63:7-9)
Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on us.
Fear not, for I have redeemed thee, and called thee by thy name, thou art Mine. (Isa 63:1)
'Thou art Mine'. WHAT a ring of triumph in those words. Do we take in their meaning? Do we grasp the truth that God really cares for us, our welfare, our safety? Have we meditated, pondered on, saturated our minds with the mystery of the Incarnation and the unfathomable oceans of divine love therein revealed? - that love which so thirsted for our salvation that the Second Person of the Holy Trinity Himself undertook the task of paying our debts and delivering us from hell, at what cost to Himself we all know, but His generous heart counts it but little, if so He can secure our eternal happiness. We can understand St Paul reckoning all things as dung to gain Jesus Christ, for the "all things" of which he spoke were but finite and temporal, and what he hoped to possess instead was infinite and eternal; but that our Lord should leave His heavenly home and cast aside his splendour and magnificence, to say nothing of all He suffered, to gain us, miserable little worms of the earth, is past mere human comprehension. And having paid the price, He cries out joyously, "Thou art Mine," as though he had secured a great treasure. Does He always find a corresponding joy on our side, or is it a cold freezing look that meets His, as if we cared but little for all He has done for us and the priceless privilege of being His? Do we respond enthusiastically, "Yes, Lord, I am Thine, Thine in time and eternity, " or do we make Him feel that we had almost rather He had let us alone to perish in our sins and misery? What would be the feelings of a general who had fought his way through countless perils to rescue a beleaguered city, if he found the inhabitants had made league with the enemy, and resented his efforts on their behalf as an unwarrantable intrusion? How often is our Lord made to feel that the creatures He loves so dearly do not appreciate the ransom He offers them, that they scorn and make light of the Precious Blood He shed so copiously to save them, and persistently set their feet on to the broad road that leads to the everlasting woe from which He redeemed them? Did they but meditate on His personal love for them, on the thought "He loved me and delivered Himself for me," how differently would many act! Father Tyrrell expresses this truth so beautifully and forcibly that we cannot refrain from giving a somewhat lengthy extract from one of his writings which bears on this point: "As long as our mind is filled with some distorted, abstract, half-true notion of the complete self-sufficingness of God, as long as our puerile imaginings picture Him as merely benevolent and patronizing in our regard, as offering us 'the alms of His benefits, but caring little whether we accept or decline them, until we receive and believe, without understanding or reconciling it with His self-sufficinigness, the mystery of God's dependence and indigence, love will but slumber in our heart as fire in the cold, hard flint, till struck from it by the steel. But let us once look upon the love-worn face of the Man of Sorrows, and read in its lines, its tear-stains and blood-stains, the record of the ravages of divine love, pent up and compressed within the narrow walls of a finite heart; let us but see in Him the Spouse of man's thoughtless, thankless soul, coming to us in beggary, poor, naked, hungry and thirsty, to be enriched and clothed, and fed and refreshed by our love: ley us but hear Him as He knocks at our hearts' portal and cries, 'Open to Me, My sister, My spouse, for My hair is drenched with the dew, and My locks with the night rain'; let us but realize that in very deed our God wants us, pines for us, hungers and thirsts for us, and lo! we have passed from death unto life, from twilight to noonday, we have found a key to the seeming extravagance, the follies, the delirium, the reckless prodigalities of the Saints, to whom not to suffer was to die." (Hard Sayings)
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.