What is a merciful heart?

Posted on April 2, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

In the pierced heart of the Crucified, God’s own heart is opened up–here we see who God is and what he is like. Heaven is no longer locked up. God has stepped out of hiddenness. ~Pope Benedict XVI

O my Hope, pour into my heart the inebriation that consists in the hope of you. O Jesus Christ, the resurrection and light of all worlds, place upon my soul’s head the crown of knowledge of you; open before me all of a sudden the door of mercies, cause the rays of your grace to shine out in my heart.
I give praise to your holy Nature, Lord, for you have made my nature a sanctuary for your hiddenness and a tabernacle for your mysteries, a place where you can dwell, and a holy temple for your Divinity.

What is a merciful heart? It is a heart on fire for the whole of creation, for humanity, for the birds, for the animals, and for all that exists. By the recollection of them the eyes of a merciful person pour forth tears in abundance. By the strong and vehement mercy that grips such a person’s heart, and by such great compassion, the heart is humbled and one cannot bear to hear or to see any injury or slight sorrow in any in creation.

For this reason, such a person offers up tearful prayer continually even for irrational beasts, for the enemies of the truth, and for those who harm her or him, that they be protected and receive mercy. And in like manner such a person prays for the family of reptiles because of the great compassion that burns without measure in a heart that is in the likeness of God.

Do not despise the sinner for we are all guilty. If, for love of God, you rise up against him, mourn for him instead. Why do you despise him? Despise his sins but pray for him so that you may be like Christ, who did not get annoyed with sinners but prayed for them.

Can’t you see how he wept over Jerusalem? For we, too, have been duped by the devil more than once. So why despise him whom the devil, who mocks us all, has deceived just like us?

Why, O man, despise the sinner? Is it because he is not as just as you are yourself? But what happens to your justice from the moment you are without love? Why did you not weep for him? Instead, you persecute him. It is through ignorance that certain people get upset, believing themselves to have discernment into the deeds of sinners.

excerpts from St. Isaac the Syrian+A.D. 700
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