On the Mercy of God toward Sinners


Christ the Good Shepherd - by MURILLO, Bartolomé Esteban - from Museo del Prado, Madrid

 

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

 

On the Mercy of God toward Sinners

by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

In this Day's Gospel, it is related that the Pharisees Murmured-against Jesus Christ, because He 'Received' Sinners, and 'Ate' with them. "This Man Receiveth Sinners, and Eateth with them" - Luke 15:2. In Answer-to their Murmurings, Our Lord said: If any of you had a Hundred (100) Sheep, and Lost One (1) of them, would he not leave the Ninety-nine (99) in the Desert, and go in Search-of the Lost Sheep? would he not continue his Search until he Found it? and having Found it, would he not Carry it on his Shoulders, and, Rejoicing, say to his Friends and Neighbors: "Rejoice with me, because I have Found my Sheep that was Lost"? - Luke 15:6. In conclusion, the Son of God said: "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 upon One (1) Sinner who Returns-to God, than upon Many Just, who Preserve the Grace of God. Let us then speak today on the Mercy which God shows to Sinners, First (1st), in 'Calling' them to Repentance; Secondly (2nd), in 'Receiving' them, when they Return.

 

First Point
Mercy of God in Calling Sinners to Repentance

After having Sinned by Eating the Forbidden Apple, Adam fled-from the Face-of the Lord, through the Shame of the Sin he had committed. What must have been the Astonishment-of the Angels, when they saw God seeking-after him, and Calling him, as-it-were, with Tears, saying: Adam, "where art thou?" - Genesis 3:9. My Beloved Adam, where art thou? These Words, says Father Pereyra, in his Commentary on this Passage, "are the Words of a Father, in Search of his Lost Son". Towards you, Brethren, the Lord Acts-in a similar Manner. You Fled-from Him, and He has so-often Invited you to Repentance, by-means-of 'Confessors' and 'Preachers'. Who was it that Spoke-to you when they Exhorted you to Penance? It was the Lord. Preachers are, as Saint Paul says, His Ambassadors. "For Christ, therefore, we are Ambassadors, God, as it were, Exhorting by us" - 2Corinthians 5:20. Hence, he writes to the Sinners of Corinth: "For Christ, we Beseech you, be Reconciled to God" - 2Corinthians 5:20. In explaining these Words, Saint Chrysostom says: "Ipse Christus vos obsecrat; quid autem obsecrat? Reconciliamini Deo". Then, says the Holy Doctor, Jesus Christ Himself entreats you, O Sinners; and what does He Entreat you to do? To make Peace with God. The Saint adds: "Non enim ipse inimicus gerit, sed vos". It is not God that Acts-like an Enemy, but you; that is, God does not Refuse-to make Peace with Sinners, but they are Unwilling to be Reconciled-with Him.

But, not withstanding the Refusal of Sinners to Return-to God, He does not Cease-to Continue-to Call them by so many Interior Inspirations, Remorses of Conscience, and Terrors of Chastisements. Thus, Beloved Christians, God has Spoken-to you, and, seeing that you Disregarded His Words, He has Recourse-to Scourges; He has called you to Repentance by such a Persecution, by Temporal Losses, by the Death of a Relative, by Sickness which has brought you to the Brink-of the Grave. He has, according to Holy David, placed before your Eyes the Bow-of your Damnation, not that you might be Condemned to Eternal (∞) Misery, but that you might be Delivered-from Hell, which you deserved. "Thou hast given a Warning to them that Fear Thee: that they may Flee from before the Bow: That Thy Beloved may be Delivered" - Psalm 59:6.You regarded certain Afflictions as Misfortunes; but they were Mercies from God; they were the Voices of God, Calling-on you to Renounce Sin, that you might Escape Perdition. "My Jaws are become Hoarse" - Psalm 68:4. My Son, says the Lord, I have almost Lost My Voice in Calling you to Repentance. "I am Weary of Entreating thee" - Jeremiah 15:6. I have become Weary in Imploring you to Offend Me no more.

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Light of the World - by William Holman Hunt . . . .
Note that the Door has no Outside Latch. We must 'Voluntarily'
Respond to the 'Knock' of Jesus, and Open the Door from the
Inside, to let the Light in.

By your Ingratitude, you Deserved that He should Call you no more; but He has Continued-to Invite you to Return-to Him. And who is it that has Called you? It is a God of Infinite (∞) Majesty, Who is to be One Day your Judge, on Whom your Eternal (∞) Happiness or Misery depends. Why has He Called you? To Restore to you the Life of Grace, which you have Lost. "For I Desire not the Death of him that Dieth, saith the Lord God, Return ye and Live" - Ezekiel 18:32. To Acquire the Grace of God, it would be but Little, to spend a Hundred (100) Years in a Desert, in Fasting and Penitential Austerities. But God Offered it to you for a Single (1) Act of Sorrow; you Refused that Act, and, after your Refusal, He has not Abandoned you, but has Sought you, saying: "And why will you Die, O House of Israel?" - Ezekiel 18:31. Like a Father Weeping and Following his Son, who has Voluntarily thrown himself into the Sea, God has Sought after you, saying through Compassion to each of you: My Son, why dost thou bring thyself to Eternal (∞) Misery? "And why will you Die, O House of Israel?" - Ezekiel 18:31.

As a Pigeon that seeks to take Shelter in a Tower, seeing the Entrance closed on every side, continues to Fly-round it, till she finds an Opening through which she Enters, so, says Saint Augustine, did the Divine Mercy Act-towards me, when I was in Enmity with God. "Circuibat super me fidelis a longe misericordia tua". The Lord Treated you, Brethren, in a similar manner. As often as you Sinned, you Banished Him from your Souls. The Wicked have said to God: "Depart from us, we Desire not the Knowledge of Thy Ways" - Job 21:14. And instead of Abandoning you, what has the Lord done? He has placed Himself at the Door of your Ungrateful Hearts, and by His 'Knocking', has made you feel that He was Outside, and Seeking Admission. "Behold, I Stand at the Gate, and Knock. If any Man shall hear My Voice, and open to Me the Door, I will come in to him, and will Sup with him, and he with Me" - Revelation 3:20. He, as-it-were, Entreated you to have Compassion on Him, and Allow Him to Enter. "Open to Me, my Sister" - Songs 5:2. Open to Me; I will Deliver you from Perdition; I will Forget all the Insults you have Offered to Me, if you Give-up Sin. Perhaps you are Unwilling to Open-to Me through Fear of becoming Poor by Restoring Ill-gotten Goods, or by Separating-from a Person who provided-for you? Am not I, says the Lord, able to Provide-for you? Perhaps you think that, if you Renounce a certain Friendship, which Separates you from Me, you will Live a Life of Misery? Am I not able to Content your Soul, and make your Life Happy? Ask those who Love Me with their Whole Hearts, and they will tell you that My Grace makes them Content, and that they would not Exchange their Condition, though Poor and Humble, for all the Delights and Riches of the Monarchs of the Earth.

Hound of Heaven

 

Second Point
Mercy of God in Waiting for Sinners to Return to Him
 

We have considered the Divine Mercy in Calling Sinners to Repentance; let us now consider His Patience in Waiting-for their Return. That Great Servant of God, D. Sancia Carillo, a Penitent of Father John Avila, used to say, that the Consideration-of God's Patience with Sinners, made her Desire to Build a Church, and Entitle it, "The-Patience-of-God". Ah, Sinners! who could ever Bear-with what God has Borne-from you? If the Offences which you have Committed-against God had been Offered-to your Best Friends, or even to your Parents, they surely would have Sought Revenge. When you Insulted the Lord, He was able to Chastise you; you Repeated the Insult, and He did not Punish your Guilt, but Preserved your Life and Provided you with Sustenance. He, as-it-were, Pretended not to see the Injuries you Offered-to Him, that you might Enter-into yourself, and Cease-to Offend Him. "But Thou hast Mercy upon All, because Thou canst do All Things, and Overlookest the Sins of Men for the Sake of Repentance" - Wisdom 11:24. But how, O Lord, does it happen that Thou canst not Behold a Single (1) Sin, and that Thou dost Bear-in Silence with so Many? "Thy Eyes are too Pure to Behold Evil, and thou canst not Look on Iniquity. Why Lookest thou upon them that do Unjust Things, and Holdest thy Peace when the Wicked Devoureth the Man that is more Just than himself?" - Habakkuk 1:13. Thou Seest, the Vindictive prefer their own, before Thy Honor; Thou Beholdest the Unjust, instead-of Restoring what they have Stolen, continuing-to commit Theft; the Unchaste, instead of being Ashamed-of their Impurities, Boasting-of them before others; the Scandalous, not Content-with the Sins which they themselves Commit, but Seeking-to Draw others into Rebellion against Thee; Thou Seest all this, and Holdest Thy Peace, and dost not Inflict Vengenance.

"Omnis creatura", says Saint Thomas, "tibi factori deserviens excandescit adversus injustos". All Creatures - the Earth, Fire, Air, Water - because they all Obey God, would, by a Natural Instinct, want to Punish the Sinner, and to Avenge the Injuries which he does to the Creator; but God, through His Mercy, Restrains them. But, O Lord, Thou Waitest-for the Wicked, that they may Enter-into themselves; and dost Thou not see that they Abuse Thy Mercy, to Offer new Insults to Thy Majesty? "Thou hast been Favorable to the Nation, O Lord, Thou hast been Favorable to the Nation: art Thou Glorified?" - Isaiah 26:15. Thou hast Waited so-long for Sinners; Thou hast Abstained-from Inflicting Punishment; but what Glory have You Reaped from Thy Forbearance? They have become more Wicked. Why so much Patience with such Ungrateful Souls? Why dost Thou continue-to wait for their Repentance? Why dost Thou not Chastise their Wickedness? The same Prophet answers: "Therefore the Lord Waiteth that He may have Mercy on you: and therefore shall He be Exalted, Sparing you: because the Lord is the God of Judgment: Blessed are all they that Wait for Him" - Isaiah 30:18. God Waits-for Sinners, that they may One Day Repent, and that after their Repentance, He may Pardon and Save them. "As I Live, saith the Lord God, I Desire not the Death of the Wicked, but that the Wicked turn from his Way, and Live" - Ezekiel 33:11. Saint Augustine goes so far as to say that the Lord, if He were not God, should be Unjust, on account-of His Excessive Patience toward Sinners. "Deus, Deus meus, pace tua dicam, nisi quia Deus esses, injustus esses". By Waiting-for those who Abuse His Patience, to 'Multiply' their Sins, God appears-to do an Injustice to the Divine Honor. " We", continues the Saint, "Sin; we adhere to Sin (some of us become Familiar and Intimate-with Sin, and Sleep for Months and Years in this Miserable State); we Rejoice at Sin (some of us go so-far-as-to Boast of our Wickedness); and Thou art Appeased! We Provoke Thee to Anger - Thou dost Invite us to Mercy". We and God appear to be, as it were, Engaged-in a Contest, in which we Labor-to Provoke Him to Chastise our Guilt, and He Invites us to Pardon.

Lord, exclaimed Holy Job, what is Man that Thou dost Entertain so Great an Esteem for him? Why dost Thou Love him so Tenderly? "What is a Man, that Thou shouldst Magnify him or why dost Thou set Thy Heart upon him?" - Job 7:17. Saint Denis the Areopagite says that God seeks after Sinners like a Despised Lover, Entreating them not to Destroy themselves. "Deus etiam a se aversos amatorie sequitur, et deprecatur ne pereant". Why, O Ungrateful Souls do you Fly-from Me? I Love you, and Desire nothing but your Welfare. Ah, Sinners! says Saint Teresa, remember that He Who now Calls and Seeks after you, is that God Who shall One Day be your Judge. If you are Lost, the Great Mercies which He now shows you, shall be the Greatest Torments which you shall Suffer in Hell.

 

Third Point
Mercy of God in receiving Penitent Sinners

Should a Subject, who has Rebelled against an Earthly Monarch, go into the Presence of his Sovereign to ask Pardon, the Prince instantly Banishes the Rebel, from his Sight; does not Condescend even to Look-at Him. But God does not Treat us in this Manner, when we go with Humility before Him, to Implore Mercy and Forgiveness. "For the Lord your God is Merciful, and will not Turn away His Face from you, if you Return to Him" - 2Chronicles 30:9.

God cannot Turn-away His Face from those who Cast themselves at His Feet, with a Humble and Contrite Heart. Jesus Himself has Protested that He will not Reject anyone who Returns-to Him. "And him that cometh to Me, I will not Cast out" - John 6:37. But how can He Reject those whom He Himself invites to Return, and Promises to Embrace? "Return to Me, saith the Lord, and I will Receive thee" - Jeremiah 3:1. In another place He says: Sinners, I ought to Turn My Back on you, because you First (1st) Turned your Back on Me; but be Converted-to Me, and I will be Converted-to you. "Turn ye to Me, saith the Lord of Hosts: and I will Turn to you, saith the Lord of Hosts" - Zechariah 1:3.

Oh! with what Tenderness does God Embrace a Sinner that Returns-to Him! This Tenderness, Jesus Christ Wished to us, when He said that He is a 'Good Pastor', Who, as-soon-as He finds the Lost Sheep, Embraces it, and Places it on His Own Shoulders. "And when he hath Found it, Lay it upon His Shoulders, Rejoicing" - Luke 15:5. This Tenderness also appears in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, in which Jesus Christ tells us that He is the 'Good Father', Who, when his Lost Son Returns, goes to meet him, Embraces and Kisses him, and, as-it-were, Swoons away through Joy in Receiving him. "And Running to him, Fell upon his Neck, and Kissed him" - Luke 15:20.

God Protests that when Sinners Repent of their Iniquities, He will Forget all their Sins, as if they had never Offended Him. "But if the Wicked do Penance for all his Sins, which he hath Committed, and Keep all My Commandments, and do Judgment, and Justice, Living he shall live, and shall not Die. I will not Remember all his Iniquities that he hath done" - Ezekiel 18:21-22. By the Prophet Isaiah, the Lord goes so far as to say: "And then Come, and Accuse Me, saith the Lord: "if your Sins be as Scarlet, they shall be made as White as Snow" - Isaiah 1:18. Mark the Words, Come and Accuse Me. As if the Lord said: Sinners, Come to Me, and if I do not Pardon and Embrace you, Reprove Me, Upbraid Me with Violating My Promise. But no! God cannot Despise a Humble and Contrite Heart. "A Contrite and Humbled Heart, O God, Thou wilt not Despise" - Psalm 50:19.

To Show Mercy and Grant Pardon to Sinners, God regards as Redounding-to His Own Glory. "Therefore the Lord Waiteth, that He may have Mercy on you: and therefore shall He be Exalted, Sparing you" - Isaiah 30:18. The Holy Church says, that God Displays His Omnipotence in Granting Pardon and Mercy to Sinners. "O God, Who manifestest Thy Omnipotence in Sparing and Showing Mercy". Do not imagine, Dearly Beloved Sinners, that God requires of you to Labor for a Long Time before He Grants you Pardon; as-soon-as you Wish-for Forgiveness, He is Ready to give it. Behold what the Scripture says: "Weeping thou shalt not Weep, He will Surely have Pity on thee" - Isaiah 30:19. You shall not have to Weep for a Long Time; as-soon-as you shall have Shed the First (1st) Tear through Sorrow for your Sins, God will have Mercy on you. "At the Voice of thy Cry, as soon as He shall Hear, He will Answer thee" - Isaiah 30:19. The Moment He shall Hear you say, Forgive me, O my God, Forgive me, He will Instantly Answer, and Grant you Pardon.

 

- 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