The Lord is gracious and merciful, patient and plentiful in mercy. The Lord is sweet to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works (Ps 144:8-9). If he were not so, there would be no recovery for us. Consider yourself: a sinner, what did you deserve? Scornful of God, what did you deserve? Was there anything but punishment, anything but suffering? You see what was owed to you, and what he gave out of utter graciousness. Forgiveness was given to a sinner; the justifying spirit was given; that charity and love was given in which you do all good things; and over and above these, he will give eternal life also and communion with the angelsand all of it out of mercy. Never flourish your merits, because your merits themselves are his gifts: And they shall rejoice in your righteousness (Ps 144:7) . Gracious and merciful is the Lord: you have done all things out of grace. [Augustine, In Ps 144,11; PL 37:1876]
Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.