25 March 2009

The Incarnation of Mercy

In this way, in Christ and through Christ, God also becomes especially visible in His mercy; that is to say, there is emphasized that attribute of the divinity which the Old Testament, using various concepts and terms, already defined as "mercy." Christ confers on the whole of the Old Testament tradition about God's mercy a definitive meaning. Not only does He speak of it and explain it by the use of comparisons and parables, but above all He Himself makes it incarnate and personifies it. He Himself, in a certain sense, is mercy. To the person who sees it in Him - and finds it in Him - God becomes "visible" in a particular way as the Father who is rich in mercy. (Eph 2:4)
~ John Paul the Great, Dives in Misericordia

Hoec ilia solemnis dies (hymn for Evensong)
This is the day, the solemn day,

Which God appointed to convey

Such news as made our sorrows cease,

Glad news of mercy and of peace.

Our parents' guilt, our parents' fall,
To certain death consigned us all:

From certain death mankind to save,

His only Son Jehovah gave.

Yes! He who was th' Eternal's Son,

E'er time had yet its course begun,
Our life of pain and weakness bore,

Nor did the Virgin's womb abhor.

He took on him our mortal state,

That he might bear the sinner's fate,

That so his blood, in ransom given,

Might take away the wrath of heaven.

Yes! He, the infinite great God,

In human flesh awhile abode:

That we might high in glory dwell,

He came as our Immanuel.

Redeemer of the world, to thee

All praise and glory rendered be:

And to the Father, King of heaven,

And Holy Ghost, all praise be given.

~Translated by John Chandler,
Hymns of the Primitive Church

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