But as for me, whatever is lacking in my own resources I appropriate for myself from the heart of the Lord, which overflows with mercy. And there is no lack of clefts by which they are poured out. … But the nail that pierced him has become for me a key unlocking the sight of the Lord’s will. Why should I not gaze through the cleft? The nail cries out, the wound cries out that God is truly in Christ, reconciling the world to himself. ‘The iron pierced his soul’ and his heart has drawn near, so that he is no longer one who cannot sympathize with my weaknesses. The secret of his heart is laid open through the clefts of his body; that mighty mystery of loving is laid open, laid open too the tender mercies of our God, in which the morning sun from on high has risen upon us. Surely his heart is laid open through his wounds! Where more clearly than in your wounds does the evidence shine that you, Lord, ‘are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love’? No one shows greater mercy than he who lays down his life for those who are judged and condemned.
My merit therefore is the mercy of the Lord. Surely I am not devoid of merit as long as he is not of mercy. And if the Lord abounds in mercy, I too must abound in merits. But what if I am aware of my many failings? Then, where failings abounded, grace abounded all the more. And if the mercies of the Lord are from eternity to eternity, I for my part will chant the mercies of the Lord forever.
Bernard of Clairvaux, On the Song of Songs III, Sermon 61, II. That the wise man’s home is in this rock, which is a very safe dwelling. v 4, 5 (CF31, p 143f)