Dives in Misericordia

Dives in Misericordia begins by stating that God is “rich in mercy”, by His revelation and, particularly, through the Incarnation.

Christ reveals that we can be forgiven for our sins, which shows his mercy. By revealing Christ to us and having him die for us, we see that God is merciful because he has made the ultimate sacrifice by giving his Son to help man.  Through the Incarnation of Christ, humans can live eternal life in Heaven; this merciful act is an offering of salvation.

What is the concept of “mercy” in the Old Testament? How is the parable of the prodigal son analogous to God’s mercy toward human persons?

In the Old Testament, “mercy” seems to be synonymous with “divinity.”  Christ personifies mercy; Christ is mercy.  This idea allows us to see God as being close to man, especially in man’s suffering and pain.  Also, the idea of mercy is usually linked to the idea of sin.  God forgives us of our sins because he is loving and merciful.  The parable of the prodigal son is analogous to God’s mercy toward human persons because God welcomes us back into his loving arms every time we sin, as long as we are truly sorry.  The love and mercy of the father in the story symbolizes the love and mercy of God.  When the son comes home after squandering his part of the inheritance, his father welcomes him with open arms.  The father realizes that his son’s humanity has been saved, and he loves his son as if he had never left.