the Mercy Which Is Promised to the Penitent & Wretched,
"Blessed," He Says, "Are the Merciful," and so on
29. For him who prays for mercy, there is a fitting reply,
"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy" (Mt. 5:7).
Have mercy on your own soul (Sir 30:24) if you want God to have mercy on
you. Drench your bed in tears night after night, and remember to
water your couch with weeping (Ps. 6:7). If you take compassion on
yourself, if you labour with groans of repentance (Ps 6:7)--for this is
your first step in mercy--you will indeed find mercy. If you are
perhaps a great sinner with manny sins, and you ask a great mercy and
many acts of pity (Ps. 50:3), you, too, must strive to show great mercy.
Be reconciled to yourself, for you did yourself grave injury (Jb 7:20)
in setting yourself up against God.
Now that peace has been restored in your own house, it is necessary
first to extend it to your neighbor, and that he may give you a new kiss
with the kiss of his mouth (Sg. 1:1); as it is written, you must be
reconciled and at peace with God (Rom. 5:1). Forgive those who have
sinned against you, and your own sins will be forgiven you (Lk. 6:37);
and you will pray to the Father with a quiet conscience, and say,
"Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us" (Mt. 6:12).
If perhaps you have cheated anyone, make good what you owe, and give
what is left over to the poor (Lk. 19:8, 18:22, 11:41), and you will be
shown mercy (Rom. 9:25). "If your sins were as scarlet, they shall
be as white as snow, and if they were red as vermillion, they shall be
white as wool" (Is. 1:18). So that you may not be put to shame for
all the devices of your wrongdoing (Wis. 3:11), for which you blush now
(Rom. 6:21), give alms, and if you cannot do so from your earthly
substance (Jb. 4:7; Lk. 11:41), do it from your good will, and they will
all be clean. Not only will the reason be enlightened and the will
put right, but the memory itself will be purged, and henceforth you will
cry to the Lord and hear a voice saying, "Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they shall see God" (Mt. 5:8).