Mercy is not always an easy virtue to live out. Masefield recognises this in The Coming of Christ. He portrays a foretelling of Jesus’s Agony in the Garden (Luke 22:43) when ‘there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony, he prayed the longer.’
Masefield’s words could apply to Christ’s thoughts in Gethsemane as well as to his reason for coming to earth in the first place:
I stand here at the gate
I quake as I enter in;
Life with its griefs and sin,
Earth with its death and Fate,
Man with his love and hate. (p6)
The Gate of Life, the Gate of Death: two fearsome Gates of Mercy through which Christ entered this world and the next.