"I desire mercy, not sacrifice." (cf. Hosea 6:6, Matthew 9:13)
These words of our Lord speak volumes. We may, especially when beset by deep sorrow and even depression, dwell on our unlovable nature and see how detestable our state is. We may even be tempted to grave sin, to abdicate the grace we have been given, or to be even reminded of the grave sin of the past already reconciled. Even so, there is this tumultuous experience that places us upon the parapet and tempts us to despair... Yet, we must remember those words of mercy—especially first for ourselves—that our souls may not be tortured but shining in the light of Christ. We must be light from His light, not that the fire is our own. He desires mercy over sacrifice in such a way that we are placed within His own sacrifice, we experience within His suffering our suffering, and we grow through such pitiable suffering out of love, not for ourselves, but for Him and, through Him, for the Other. Indeed, we cannot love the Other until we love ourselves, deep within our souls, in the way God loves each of us. Such as it is, we are able to begin anew, to love, to breathe, to live.
It is here that mercy is full realized and the original phrase becomes most profitable in a fruitful grace begotten by Him. It bears Him completely through the labor pains of the heart.