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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Comiskey

Mercy Bears All

‘What He has not assumed, He cannot heal.’

-St. Gregory of Nazianzen

'…the vile and horrible fiend clad His spirit in a robe steeped in all that is hateful and heinous in human crime, which clung close round His heart, and filled His conscience, and found its way into every sense and pore of His mind and spread over Him like a moral leprosy. Oh, the horror, when He looked and did not know Himself, and felt as a foul and loathsome sinner…Oh, the distraction, when He found His eyes, and hands, and feet, and lips, and heart, as if the members of the Evil One and not of God! Are these the hands of the Immaculate Lamb of God, once innocent, but now red with ten thousand barbarous deeds of blood? Are these not His lips, not uttering prayer, and praise, and holy blessings, but as if defiled with oaths, and blasphemies, and doctrines of devils? Or His eyes, profaned by all the idolatrous fascinations for which men have abandoned their adorable Creator? And His ears, they ring with sounds of revelry and of strife; and His heart is frozen with avarice, and cruelty, and unbelief. His very memory is laden with every sin which has been committed since the fall.

Who does not know the misery of a haunting thought which comes again and again, in spite of rejection, to annoy, if it cannot seduce? Or of some odious and sickening imagination, in no sense one’s own but forced upon the mind from without? Or of evil knowledge, gained with or without a man’s fault, but which he would give a great price to be rid of at once and for ever?...

It is a long history of a world, and God alone can bear the load of it. Hopes blighted, vows broken, lights quenched, warnings scorned, opportunities lost; the innocent betrayed, the young hardened, the penitent lapsing, the just overcome, the aged failing; the sophistry of misbelief, the willfulness of passion, the obduracy of pride, the tyranny of habit, the canker of remorse, the wasting fever of care, the anguish of shame, the pining of disappointment, the sickness of despair. Such cruel, such pitiable spectacles, such heartrending revolting, detestable, maddening scenes: they are all before Him now. They are upon Him and in Him…they are all but His own. He cries to the Father as if He were the criminal, not the victim. His agony takes the form of guilt and compunction…

For He is the One Victim for us all, the sole Satisfaction, the real Penitent, all but the real sinner.’ -St. John Henry Newman, The Tears of Christ pp. 183, 4.


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