The mystery of mercy

Joy arises from devotion and true devotion rests on the mystery of the mercy of God. The mystery of mercy is how it combines both vision of the person’s fault and love of the person. There is no mystery in a love that looks past faults, that focuses on something other than the fault, or that imagines that understanding the fault is somehow to forgive it, i.e. the tout comprendre c’est tout pardonner which is nothing but a refusal to allow the reality that mercy both truly understands and the person as not worthy of pardon and yet pardons.

True, the divine mercy transforms and takes away faults and does not leave them as they are, but this presupposes a principle that somehow is capable of loving in the face of the unlovable.

This touches on a sensitive point for the Catholic-Protestant split in the West: Luther can certainly read into it the simul justus et peccator, but his great rival Cajetan would insist just as strongly on devotion being founded on the acknowledgement of God’s goodness and man’s sinfulness. Mystery demands more than other sorts of knowledge an experiential grasp of truth within a speech-community taken as authoritative. However we solve the problem, our joy is a function of spending time with the mystery itself.

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