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Chesed, mercy and power, manifests itself visibly in the chasid, or the saint. Indeed the saint is one whose whole life is immersed in the chesed of God. The saint is the instrument of the divine mercy. Through the chasid the love of God reaches into the world in a visible mystery, a mystery of poverty and love, meekness and power.”

The mystery of the Good Samaritan is this, then: the mystery of chesed, power and mercy. In the end, it is Christ Himself who lies wounded by the roadside. It is Christ Who comes by in the person of the Samaritan. And Christ is the bond, the compassion and understanding between them. This is how the Church is made of living stones, compacted together in mercy. Where there is on the one hand a helpless one, beaten and half dead, and on the other an outcast with no moral standing and the one leans down in pity to help the other, then there takes place a divine epiphany and awakening. There is “man,” there reality is made human, and in answer to this movement of compassion, a Presence is made on the earth, and the bright cloud of the majesty of God overshadows their poverty and their love. There may be no consolation in it. There may be nothing humanly charming about it. It is not necessarily like the movies. Perhaps the encounter is outwardly sordid and unattractive. But the Presence of God is brought about on earth there, and Christ is there, and God is in communion with man.

Thomas Merton. Seasons of Celebration. (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1950): 179, 181-182.

Emphasis mine.

April 2008
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