Behold peace, not promised, but present; not deferred but conferred; not prophesied but presented! Behold, God the Father has sent to the earth, as it were, a sack filled with his mercy, a sack that must be cut to pieces in the passion so that it can pour out what is concealed in it for our ransom; a small sack, indeed, but stuffed full. A child has been given us, but in him dwells the fullness of divinity. He came in the flesh so that in this way he might be shown to those made of flesh, and in his likeness of humanity so that his graciousness might be recognized. When God’s humanity becomes known, his graciousness can no longer be concealed.
How could he better commend his graciousness than by taking my flesh? My flesh, I repeat, not Adam’s flesh as it was before the fall. What could better demonstrate this mercy than his taking on misery itself? What is as replete with loving-kindness as the Word of God become grass for our sake? Lord, what are human beings that you make so much of them? Or why do you set your heart on them?
This should enable humankind to realize the great care God has for them; from this they should be able to realize the great care God has for them; from this they should be able to realize his thoughts and feelings about them. Do not ask questions, O human being, about what you are suffering but about what he suffered. Recognize how great he made you from what he became for you, so that his graciousness may be apparent to you from his humanity.
From St. Bernard of Clairvaux’s First Sermon for the Lord’s Epiphany, Sermons for Advent and the Christmas Season (CF 31, pp 155-156)