So far in DiM 4, we’ve considered the witness of history, the prophets, and God’s concern for people in sin, in misfortune, and in danger. We’re not done with this section yet, but let’s take a shorter paragraph and pull these ideas together as we are reminded of two metaphors of intimacy:
Thus, in deeds and in words, the Lord revealed His mercy from the very beginnings of the people which He chose for Himself; and, in the course of its history, this people continually entrusted itself, both when stricken with misfortune and when it became aware of its sin, to the God of mercies. All the subtleties of love become manifest in the Lord’s mercy towards those who are His own: He is their Father,(Cf. Is. 63:16) for Israel is His firstborn son(Cf. Ex. 4:22); the Lord is also the bridegroom of her whose new name the prophet proclaims: Ruhamah, “Beloved” or “she has obtained pity.”(Cf. Hos. 2:3)
With these metaphors, it is vital to remember they do not describe God and people all of the time, in every circumstance. They reveal some small slice of our relationship with God in the experiences of sin, misfortune, and danger.
Dives in Misericordia, the second encyclical of Pope John Paul II, is available online here, and is copyright © 1980 – Libreria Editrice Vaticana