On the Tender Compassion which
Jesus Christ entertains toward Sinners


Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes - by LANFRANCO, Giovanni - from National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin

 

Then Jesus said: Make the Men sit down. Now there was much Grass in the place.
The Men therefore sat down, in Number about Five Thousand - John 6:10.

 

On the Tender Compassion which
Jesus Christ entertains toward Sinners

by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

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We read in Today's Gospel, that having gone up into the Mountain with His Disciples, and seeing a Multitude of Five Thousand Persons, who followed Him because they saw the Miracles which He wrought-on them that were Diseased; the Redeemer said to Saint Philip: "Whence shall we buy Bread, that these may eat?" "Lord", answered Saint Philip, "two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient that everyone may take a little". Saint Andrew then said: "There is a Boy here that has Five (5) Barley Loaves and Two (2) Fishes; but what are these among so many?" But Jesus Christ said: Make the Men sit down. And He distributed the Loaves and Fishes among them. The Multitude was Satisfied; and the Fragments-of Bread which remained, filled Twelve (12) Baskets. The Lord wrought this Miracle through Compassion for the Bodily Wants of these Poor People; but far more Tender is His Compassion for the Necessities of the Souls of the Poor; that is, of Sinners who are Deprived-of the Divine Grace. This Tender Compassion of Jesus Christ for Sinners, shall be the Subject of this Day's Discourse.

Through the Bowels of His Mercy towards Men, who Groaned under the Slavery of Sin and Satan, our most Loving Redeemer descended-from Heaven to Earth, to Redeem and Save them from Eternal (∞) Torments, by His Own Death. Such was the Language-of Saint Zachary (Zechariah), the Father of the Baptist, when the Blessed Virgin, who had already become the Mother of the Eternal Word, entered his House: "Through the Bowels of the Mercy of our God, in which the Orient from on High hath visited us" - Luke 1:78.

Jesus Christ, the 'Good Pastor', Who came into the World to obtain Salvation for us, His Sheep, has said: "I am come that they may have Life, and may have it more Abundantly" - John 10:10. Mark the Expression, more Abundantly, which Signifies that the Son of Man came on Earth, not only to Restore us to the Life of Grace which we Lost, but to give us a Better Life than that which we Forfeited by Sin. Yes; for as Saint Leo says, the Benefits which we have Derived from the Death of Jesus, are Greater than the Injury which the Devil has done us by Sin. "Ampliora adepti sumus per Christi gratiam quam per diaboli amiseramus invidiam". The same Doctrine is taught by the Apostle, who says that, "where Sin abounded, Grace did more abound".

But, my Lord, since Thou hast Resolved-to take Human Flesh, would not a Single (1) Prayer, Offered by Thee, be Sufficient-for the Redemption of all Men? What need then was there,

of Leading a Life of Poverty, Humiliation, and Contempt, for Thirty Three (33) Years;

of Suffering a Cruel and Shameful Death on the Infamous Gibbet, and

of Shedding all Thy Blood by Dint of Torments?

I know well, answers Jesus Christ, that One (1) Drop of My Blood, or a Simple Prayer, would be Sufficient-for the Salvation of the World; but Neither, would be Sufficient-to show the Love which I 'Bear' to Men; and therefore, to be Loved by Men, when they should see Me Dead on the Cross, for Love of them, I have Resolved-to Submit-to so many Torments, and to so Painful a Death. This, He says, is the 'Duty' of a 'Good Pastor'. "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd giveth his Life for his Sheep . . . . and I lay down my Life for my Sheep" - John 10:11,15.

O Men, O Men, what Greater Proof of Love could the Son of God give to us, than to Lay-down His Life for His Sheep? "In this we have known the Charity of God, because He hath laid down His Life for us" - 1John 3:16. No one, says the Savior, can show Greater Love to his Friends, than to give his Life for them. "Greater Love than this, no Man hath, that a Man lay down his Life, for his Friends" - John 15:13. But Thou, O Lord, hast Died not only for Friends, but for us who were Thy Enemies by Sin. "When we were Enemies, we were Reconciled to God by the Death of His Son" - Romans 5:10. O Infinite Love of our God, exclaims Saint Bernard, to spare Slaves; neither the Father has spared the Son, nor the Son Himself. To Pardon us, who were Rebellious Servants, the Father would not Pardon the Son, and the Son would not Pardon Himself, but, by His Death, has Satisfied the Divine Justice, for the Sins which we have Committed.

When Jesus Christ was near His Passion, He went One Day to Samaria; the Samaritans refused-to Receive Him. Indignant at the Insult offered by the Samaritans to their Master, Saint James and Saint John, turning to Jesus said: "Lord, wilt thou that we Command Fire to come down from Heaven, and Consume them?" - Luke 9:54. But Jesus, Who was all Sweetness, even to those who Insulted Him, answered: "You know not of what Spirit you are. The Son of Man came not to Destroy Souls, but to Save" - Luke 9:55-56. He Severely Rebuked the Disciples. What Spirit is this, He said, which Possesses you? It is not My Spirit; Mine is the Spirit of Patience and Compassion; for I am come, not to Destroy, but to Save the Souls of Men; and you Speak of Fire, of Punishment, and of Vengeance. Hence, in another place, He said to His Disciples: "Learn of Me, because I am Meek, and Humble of Heart" - Matthew 11:29. I do not Wish you to Learn of Me to Chastise, but to be Meek, and to Bear and Pardon Injuries.

How Beautifully has He described the Tenderness of His Heart towards Sinners, in the following Words: "What Man of you that hath a Hundred Sheep: and if he shall Lose One of them, doth he not leave the Ninety-Nine in the Desert, and go after that which was Lost, until he find it? And when he hath Found it, lay it upon His Shoulders, Rejoicing: And coming Home, call together his Friends and Neighbors, saying to them: Rejoice with me, because I have Found my Sheep that was Lost?" - Luke 15:4-6. But, O Lord, it is not Thou that oughtest to Rejoice, but the Sheep that has been Found by her Pastor and her God. The Sheep indeed, answers Jesus, Rejoices at finding Me, her Shepherd; but far Greater is the Joy which I feel at having Found One of My Lost Sheep. He concludes the Parable in these Words: "I say to you, that even so, there shall be Joy in Heaven upon One Sinner that doth Penance, more than upon Ninety-Nine Just, who need not Penance" - Luke 15:7. There is more Joy in Heaven at the Conversion of One (1) Sinner, than upon Ninety Nine (99) Just Men who 'Preserve' their Innocence. What Sinner, then, can be so Hardened as not to go Instantly and Cast himself at the Feet of his Savior, when he Knows the Tender Love with which Jesus Christ is prepared to Embrace him, and Carry him on His Shoulders, as soon as he Repents of his Sins?

The Lord has also declared His Tenderness toward Penitent Sinners in the Parable-of-the-Prodigal-Child (Luke 15:12, et cetera). In that Parable, the Son of God says that a certain Young Man, unwilling to be any longer under the Control-of his Father, and Desiring-to Live according to his Caprice and Corrupt Inclinations, asked the Portion-of his Father's Substance, which fell-to him. The Father gave it with Sorrow, Weeping over the Ruin of his Son. The Son departed-from his Father's House. Having in a Short Time, dissipated his Substance, he was Reduced-to such a Degree-of Misery, that to Procure the Necessities of Life, he was Obliged to feed Swine. All this was the 'Figure' of a Sinner, who after departing-from God, and Losing the Divine Grace and all the Merits he had Acquired, leads a Life of Misery under the Slavery of the Devil. In the Gospel, it is added that the Young Man, seeing his Wretched Condition, resolved to Return-to his Father; and the Father, who is a 'Figure' of Jesus Christ, seeing his Son return to him, was instantly moved-to Pity. "His Father saw him, and was moved with Compassion" - Verse 20; and, instead of Driving him away, as the Ungrateful Son deserved, "and running to him, fell upon his Neck, and Kissed him". He ran with Open Arms to meet him, and through Tenderness, fell upon his Neck and Consoled him by his Embraces. He then said to his Servants: "Bring forth quickly the First Robe, and put it on him" - Verse 22. According to Saint Jerome and Saint Augustine, the First Robe signifies the Divine Grace, which in addition to new Celestial Gifts, God, by Granting Pardon, gives to the Penitent Sinner. "And put a Ring on his Hand". Give him the Ring of a Spouse. By Recovering the Grace of God, the Soul becomes again the Spouse of Jesus Christ. "And bring hither the Fatted Calf, and Kill it, and let us Eat and make Merry" - Verse 23. Bring hither the Fatted Calf - which Signifies the Holy Communion, or Jesus in the Holy Sacrament, Mystically Killed and Offered-in Sacrifice on the Altar - let us Eat and Rejoice. But why, O Divine Father, so much Joy, at the Return-of so Ungrateful a Child? "Because", answers the Father, "this my Son, was Dead, and is come to Life again: was Lost, and is Found" - Verse 24.

This Tenderness of Jesus Christ, was Experienced-by the Sinful Woman (according to Saint Gregory, Mary Magdalene) who Cast herself at the Feet of Jesus, and Washed them with her Tears (Luke 7:37, et cetera). The Lord, turning to her with Sweetness, Consoled her by saying: "Thy Sins are Forgiven thee . . . Thy Faith hath made thee Safe, go in Peace" - (Verses 47,50). Child, thy Sins are Pardoned; thy Confidence in Me has Saved thee; go in Peace. It was also felt by the Man who was Sick for Thirty Eight (38) Years, and who was Infirm both in Body and Soul. The Lord Cured his Malady, and Pardoned his Sins. "Behold", says Jesus to him, "thou art made Whole: Sin no more, lest some Worse Thing happen to thee" - John 5:14. The Tenderness of the Redeemer was also felt by the Leper who said to Jesus Christ: "Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me Clean" - Matthew 8:2. Jesus answered: "I will, be thou made Clean" - Verse 3. As if He said: Yes, I Will that thou be made Clean, for I have come-down-from Heaven for the Purpose of Consoling all; be Healed then, according to thy Desire. "And forthwith his Leprosy was Cleansed".

We have also a Proof of the Tender Compassion of the Son of God for Sinners, in His Conduct towards the Woman caught in Adultery. The Scribes and Pharisees brought her before Him, and said: "Master, this Woman was even now taken in Adultery. Now Moses in the Law, Commanded us to Stone such a one. But what sayest Thou?" - John 8:4,5. And this they did, as Saint John says, Tempting Him. They intended to Accuse Him of Transgressing the Law-of-Moses, if He said that she ought to be Liberated; and they expected to Destroy His Character-for Meekness, if He said that she should be Stoned. "Si dicat lapidandam", says Saint Augustine, "famam perdet mansuetudinis; sin dimittendam, transgressae legis accusabitur". But what was the Answer of Our Lord? He neither said that she should be Stoned or Dismissed; but "Bowing Himself down, Wrote with His Finger on the Ground" - Verse 6. The Interpreters say that Probably what He Wrote-on the Ground, was a Text of Scripture Admonishing the 'Accusers' of their own Sins, which were perhaps, Greater-than that of the Woman charged with Adultery. "He lifted up Himself, and said to them: He that is without Sin among you, let him First, Cast a Stone at her" - Verse 7. The Scribes and Pharisees went away, One-by-One, and the Woman stood alone. Jesus Christ, turning to her said: "Hath no Man Condemned thee? Neither will I Condemn thee. Go, and now Sin no more" - Verses 10,11. Since no one has Condemned you, Fear not that you shall be Condemned by Me, Who have come on Earth, not to Condemn, but to Pardon and Save Sinners; go in Peace and Sin no-more.

Jesus Christ has come, not to Condemn, but to Deliver Sinners from Hell, as-soon-as they Resolve-to Amend their Lives. And when He sees them Obstinately Bent-on their own Perdition, He addresses them with Tears, in the Words of Ezekiel: "Why will you Die, O House of Israel" - Ezekiel 18:31. My Children, why will you Die? Why do you 'Voluntarily' rush-into Hell, when I have come-from Heaven to Deliver you from it, by My Death? He adds: You are already Dead-to the Grace of God. But I Will not your Death; return to Me and I will Restore-to you the Life which you have Lost. "For I Desire not the Death of him that Dieth, saith the Lord God, Return ye and Live" - Verse 32. But some Sinners, who are Immersed-in the Abyss of Sin, may say: Perhaps, if we Return-to Jesus Christ, He will Drive us away. No; for the Redeemer has said: "And him that cometh to Me, I will not Cast Out" - John 6:37. No one that comes to Me with Sorrow for his Past Sins, however Manifold and Enormous they may have been, shall be Rejected.

Behold how, in another place, the Redeemer encourages us to Throw ourselves at His Feet, with the Secure Hope of Consolation and Pardon. "Come to Me, all you that Labor, and are Burdened, and I will Refresh you" - Matthew 11:28. Come to Me, all ye Poor Sinners, who Labor for your own Damnation, and Groan under the Weight-of your Crimes, and I will Deliver you from all your Troubles. Again, He says: "Come, and Accuse Me, saith the Lord: if your Sins be as Scarlet, they shall be made as White as Snow: and if they be Red as Crimson, they shall be White as Wool" - Isaiah 1:18. Come with Sorrow for the Offences you Committed-against Me, and if I do not give you Pardon, Accuse Me. As if He said: Upbraid Me, Rebuke Me as a Liar, for I Promise that though your Sins were as Scarlet - that is, of the Most Horrid Enormity - your Soul, by My Blood, in which I shall Wash it, will become White and Beautiful-as Snow.

Let us then, O Sinners, return Instantly to Jesus Christ. If we have 'Left' Him, let us Immediately 'Return', before Death overtakes us in Sin and sends us to Hell, where the Mercies and Graces of the Lord shall, if we do not Amend, be so many Swords which shall Lacerate the Heart for all Eternity (∞).

 

- End of Liguori Sermon -

 

Prayer

O Jesus, my Redeemer, I return Thee Thanks, for not having Taken me out of this Life whilst I was Thy Enemy. How many Years have Passed, since I Deserved to be in Hell! Had I Died on such a Day, or on such a Night, what would have become of me for all Eternity? My God, I return Thee Thanks. I Accept-of Death, as a Satisfaction-for my Sins, and I Accept-of it the Manner in which it may Please Thee, to send it to me; but since Thou hast Waited for me until now, Oh, Wait for me yet a little longer. Suffer me, therefore, that I may Lament my Sorrow a little. Give me Time to Weep over my Offences against Thee, before Thou Comest to Judge me.

I will no longer Resist Thy Calls. Who knows, but these Words, which I have just Read, are Thy Last Call to me? I Acknowledge that I do not Deserve Mercy: Thou hast Pardoned me so often, and I have again Ungratefully Offended Thee. A Contrite and Humble Heart, O God, Thou wilt not Despise. Ah, Lord, since Thou canst not Despise a Humble and Penitent Heart, Behold the Traitor who, Humbled and Repentant, has Recourse to Thee. Cast me not away from Thy Face. Thou hast said, Him that cometh to Me, I will not Cast-out. It is True that I have Offended Thee more than others, because I have been Favored, more than others, with Light and Grace; but the Blood Thou hast Shed for me, gives me Courage, and Proffers Pardon to me, if I Repent. Yes, O my Sovereign Good, I do Repent with my Whole Soul, for having Insulted Thee. Pardon me, and give me Grace to Love Thee for the Future. I have long enough Offended Thee. As for the Remainder of my Life, no, my Jesus, I will not Spend it in Offending Thee; I will Spend it Wholly, in Weeping over the Displeasure I have given Thee, and in Loving Thee with all my Heart, O God, Worthy of Infinite Love.

O Mary, my Hope, Pray to Jesus for me.

Amen

 

Ancient Miraculous Prayer to Saint Joseph
Patron of Departing Souls

This Prayer was found in the Fiftieth Year of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In 1505 it was sent from the Pope to Emperor Charles, when he was going into Battle. Whoever shall Read this Prayer, or Hear it, or Keep it about themselves, shall never Die a Sudden Death, or be Drowned, nor shall Poison take-effect on them; neither shall they Fall into the Hands of the Enemy, nor shall they be Burned in any Fire, nor shall they be Overpowered in Battle.

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O Saint Joseph, whose Protection is so Great, so Strong, so Prompt before the Throne of God, I Place in you, all my Interests and Desires.

O Saint Joseph, do Assist me by your Powerful Intercession, and Obtain for me from your Divine Son, all Spiritual Blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having Engaged here below your Heavenly Power, I may Offer my Thanksgiving and Homage to the most Loving of Fathers.

O Saint Joseph, I never Weary Contemplating you and Jesus Asleep in your Arms; I dare not approach while He Reposes near your Heart. Press Him in my name and Kiss His Fine Head for me, and ask Him to Return the Kiss when I Draw my Dying Breath, Saint Joseph, Patron of Departing Souls, Pray for us.

Amen

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Many Miracles have been attributed to this Daily Prayer.
Make this Prayer known everywhere . . .

 

Consecration to God thru Mary