Tender love of God

“The second word which in the terminology of the Old Testament serves to define mercy is rahamim. This has a different nuance from that of hesed. (…) Rahamim, in its very root, denotes the love of a mother (rehem = mother’s womb). From the deep and original bond–indeed the unity–that links a mother to her child there springs a particular relationship to the child, a particular love. Of this love one can say that it is completely gratuitous, not merited, and that in this aspect it constitutes an interior necessity: an exigency of the heart. It is, as it were, a “feminine” variation of the masculine fidelity to self expressed by hesed. Against this psychological background, rahamim generates a whole range of feelings, including goodness and tenderness, patience and understanding, that is, readiness to forgive. The Old Testament attributes to the Lord precisely these characteristics when it uses the term rahamim in speaking of Him” (Dives in Misericordia, no. 4, note no. 52).

Try to imagine a mother’s tenderness towards her baby—especially one who is still very young and completely dependent on her. How much love, care and compassion there is in this special relationship, and it is only a weak comparison to God’s merciful love for each of us. The Merciful God is a Father full of tenderness and goodness who cannot pass by his child indifferently, even if he turns away from Him.

How do you feel when you think of God who is full of tender, caring love toward you?

What is the image of God that you have in your heart?

Are you able to find yourself in His arms embracing you with love, especially when with a contrite heart you return to Him in the sacrament of penance and reconciliation (confession)?

“Knowing Your mercy, O Jesus, I’ll approach You, because my wretchedness will run out sooner than Your Heart’s compassion will be exhausted” (Diary 1827).

“You carry me in the bosom of Your mercy and You always forgive me, whenever with a contrite heart I beg You for forgiveness” (Diary 1332).