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