God: a humble mercy, a merciful humility

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For the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul

Our monastic lectionary gives us, at the Office of Matins today, a splendid homily by the 12th century Benedictine monk, Rupert of Deutz.

But whence and how is it that a man placed at the pinnacle of honours, and greatly aware of its sacred character, should condescend to the little ones and share the sorrow of those in misery? God alone is humble by nature, showing mercy. He is mercy itself; or rather, He himself is mercy, He himself is humility.
It was necessary that the Apostle Peter, predestined and called to so great an exaltation, should have, before receiving such honours, an imposing and compelling reason to learn mercy and compassion once and for all.
For this did God allow him to fall, for this was he left to himself to the point of a triple denial. Oh, the beauty and wonder of Wisdom given in spectacle! Let us admire it, we who are experienced spectators, and with a practiced eye, let us recognize Wisdom.

We know more of Peter's threefold denial and threefold profession of love in reparation, than we do of his martyrdom. The man who, having fallen repeatedly, repeats as many acts of reparation and love, will be graced with the humility that comes of true self-knowledge, and of knowledge of the mercy of God. Never will he set himself above others in judgment. Rather with Saint Peter, and with Saint Thérèse, will he sit at the table of sinners, sharing their bread and, with them, waiting to be visited by the Mercy that will rise more surely than the dawn.

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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