On the Abuse of Divine Mercy


Jesus I Trust in You - The Divine Mercy of Jesus Christ -
After Sin, Hope for Mercy; before Sin, Fear Justice - Saint Augustine

 

"Take care of him" - Luke 10:35

 

On the Abuse of Divine Mercy

by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

In this Day's Gospel we read, that a certain Man Fell into the Hands-of Robbers, who, after having Taken his Money, Wounded him, and left him Half Dead. A Samaritan who passed-by saw him, and taking Pity on him, Bound-up his Wounds, brought him to an Inn, and left him in the Care-of the Host, saying, "Take Care of him". These Words, I this Day Address-to those, if there be any such among you, who, though their Souls are Wounded by Sin, instead of Attending-to the Care-of them, continually Aggravate the Wounds by New Sins, and thus Abuse the Mercy of God, Who Preserves their Lives, that they may Repent, and not be Lost Forever (∞). I say to you: Brethren, take Care-of your Souls, which are in a very Bad State; have Compassion on them. "Have Pity on thy own Soul" - Ecclesiasticus 30:24. Your Souls are Sick, and what is Worse, they are near the Eternal (∞) Death-of Hell; for he who Abuses to Excess, the Divine Mercy, is on the Point-of being Abandoned by the Mercy of God. This shall be the Subject-of the present Discourse.

Before you Sin, Fear the Red-hot Sword of God's Justice
 

Saint Augustine says, that the Devil Deludes Christians in Two (2) Ways, "By Despair and Hope". After a Person has committed Sin, the Enemy, by Placing-before his Eyes the Rigor of Divine Justice, Tempts him to Despair of the Mercy of God. But, before he Sins, the Devil, by Representing-to him the Divine Mercy, Labors to make him Fearless-of the Chastisement due-to Sin. Hence the Saint gives the following Advice, "After Sin, Hope for Mercy; before Sin, Fear Justice". If, after Sin, you Despair of God's Pardon, you Offend Him by a 'New' and more Grievous Sin. Have Recourse-to His Mercy, and He will Pardon you. But, before Sin, Fear God's Justice, and Trust not to His Mercy; for, they who Abuse the Mercy of God to Offend Him, do not Deserve-to be Treated-with Mercy. Abulensis says, that the Man who Offends Justice, may have Recourse-to Mercy; but to whom can they have Recourse, who Offend and Provoke Mercy against themselves?

When you Intend-to commit Sin, who, I ask, Promises you Mercy from God. Certainly God does not Promise it. It is the Devil that Promises it, that you may Lose God, and be Damned. "Beware", says Saint John Chrysostom, "Never to Attend to that Dog, who Promises the Mercy from God". If, Beloved Sinners, you have hitherto Offended God, Hope and Tremble; if you Desire to Give-up Sin, and you Detest it, Hope; because God Promises Pardon to all who Repent of the Evil they have done. But if you intend-to continue-in your Sinful Course, Tremble lest God should Wait no-longer for you, but Cast you into Hell. Why does God Wait-for Sinners? Is it that they may continue-to Insult Him? No, He Waits-for them that they may Renounce Sin, and that thus, He may have Pity on them, and Forgive them. "Therefore the Lord Waiteth that He may have Mercy on you" - Isaiah 30:18. But when He sees that the Time which He gave them to Weep over their Past Iniquities, is spent in Multiplying their Sins, He begins to Inflict Chastisement, and He Cuts-them-off in the State of Sin, that, by Dying, they may Cease-to Offend Him. Then He Calls-against them the very Time He had given them for Repentance. "He hath Called against me the Time" - Lamentations 1:15. "The very Time", says Saint Gregory, "comes to Judge".

O Common Illusion of so many Damned Christians! We seldom find a Sinner so Abandoned to Despair, as to say, I will Damn myself. Christians Sin, and Endeavor-to Save their Souls. They say, God is Merciful; I will Commit this Sin, and will Afterwards Confess it. Behold the Illusion, or rather the Snare, by which Satan draws so many Souls to Hell. Commit Sin, he says, and Confess it Afterwards. But, Listen-to what the Lord says, "And say Not: The Mercy of the Lord is Great, He will have Mercy on the Multitude of my Sins" - Ecclesiasticus 5:6. Why does He tell you not to say, that the Mercy of God is Great? Attend to the Words contained-in the following Verse, "For Mercy and Wrath quickly come from Him, and His Wrath looketh upon Sinners" - Ecclesiasticus 5:7. The Mercy of God is different from the Acts-of His Mercy; the former is Infinite (∞), the latter are Finite. God is Merciful, but He is also Just. Saint Basil says, that Sinners only consider God as Merciful, and Ready-to Pardon; but not as Just, and Prepared-to Inflict Punishment. Of this the Lord complained-to Saint Bridget, "I am Just and Merciful; Sinners regard Me only as Merciful". Saint Basil's Words are, "Bonus est Dominus sed etiam justus; nolimus Deum ex dimidia parte cogitare". God is Just, and being Just, He must Punish the Ungrateful. Father John Avila used to say that to Bear-with those who Avail themselves of the Mercy of God to Offend Him, would not be Mercy, but a Want of Justice. Mercy, as the Divine Mother said, is Promised-to those who Fear, and not to Insult the Lord. "And His Mercy is from Generation unto Generations, to them that Fear Him" - Luke 1:50.

Some Rash Sinners will say: God has hitherto shown me so many Mercies; why should He not Hereafter Treat me with the same Mercy? I Answer: He will show you Mercy, if you Wish-to Change your Life; but if you Intend to Continue-to Offend Him, He tells you that He will take Vengeance on your Sins by Casting you into Hell. "Revenge is Mine, and I will Repay them in Due Time, that their Foot may Slide" - Deuteronomy 32:35. David says, that "Except you will be Converted, He will Brandish His Sword; He hath Bent His Bow, and made it Ready" - Psalm 7:13. The Lord has Bent His Bow, and waits for your Conversion; but if you Resolve not to-return-to Him, He will in the End, Cast the Arrow against you, and you shall be Damned. O God! there are some who will not Believe that there is a Hell, until they Fall into it. Can you, Beloved Christians, complain-of the Mercies of God, after He has shown you so Many Mercies, by Waiting-for you so Long? You ought to remain always Prostrate-on the Earth, to Thank Him for His Mercies, saying, "The Mercies of the Lord, that we are not Consumed" - Lamentations 3:22. Were the Injuries which you Offered to God, committed-against a Brother, he would not have Borne-with you. God has had so-much Patience with you; and He now Calls you again. If, after all this, He shall Send you to Hell, will He do you any Wrong? "What is there", He will say, "that I ought to do more to My Vineyard, that I have not done to it?" - Isaiah 5:4. Impious Wretch, what more ought I to do for you, that I have not done?

Saint Bernard says, that the Confidence which Sinners have in God's Goodness, when they commit Sin, Procures-for them, not a Blessing, but a Malediction from the Lord. "Est infidelis fiducia solius ubique maledictionis capax, cum videlicet in spe peccamus". O Deceitful Hope, which sends so many Christians to Hell! Saint Augustine says, "Sperant, ut peccent! Vae a perversa spe". They do not Hope for the Pardon of the Sins of which they Repent; but they Hope that though they Continue-to commit Sin, God will have Mercy upon them; and thus they make the Mercy of God serve-as a Motive-for Continuing-to Offend Him. O Accursed Hope! Hope which is an Abomination to the Lord! "And their Hope, the Abomination of the Soul" - Job 11:20. This Hope, will make God Hasten the Execution-of His Vengeance; for surely a Master will not Defer the Punishment of Servants, who Offend him, because he is Good. Sinners, as Saint Augustine observes, Trusting-in God's Goodness, Insult Him, and say, "God is Good; I will do what I Please". But, alas! how many, exclaims the same Saint Augustine, has this Vain Hope, Deluded! "They who have been Deceived by this Shadow of Vain Hope, cannot be Numbered". Saint Bernard writes, that Lucifer's Chastisement was Accelerated, because, in Rebellion against God, he Hoped-that he should not be Punished for his Rebellion. Ammon, the Son of King Manasses, seeing that God had Pardoned the Sins of his Father, gave himself up to a Wicked Life, with the Hope-of Pardon; but for Ammon there was no Mercy. Saint John Chrysostom says that Judas was Lost, because, Trusting-in the Goodness of Jesus Christ, he Betrayed Him. "Fidit in lenitate Magistri".

He that Sins with the Hope of Pardon, saying, I will afterwards Repent, and God will Pardon me, is, according to Saint Augustine, "not a Pentitent, but a Scoffer". The Apostle tells us, "Be not Deceived, God is not Mocked" - Galatians 6:7. It would be a Mockery of God to Offend Him, as-often, and as-long-as you Please, and always to Receive the Pardon of your Offences. "For what Things a Man shall Sow", says Saint Paul, "those also shall he Reap. For he that Soweth in his Flesh, of the Flesh also, shall Reap Corruption. But he that Soweth in the Spirit, of the Spirit shall Reap Life Everlasting" - Galatians 6:8. They who Sow Sins, can Hope for Nothing, but the Hatred-of God, and Hell. "Despisest thou the Riches of His Goodness, and Patience, and Longsuffering?" - Romans 2:4. Do you, O Sinner, Despise the Riches of the Goodness, of the Patience , and Long Suffering of God, towards you? He uses the Word Riches, because the Mercies which God shows us, in not Punishing our Sins, are Riches more Valuable to us than all Treasures. "Knowest thou not", continues the Apostle, "that the Benignity of God leadeth thee to Penance?" - Romans 2:4. Do you not know, that the Lord Waits for you, and Treats you with so much Benignity, not that you may Continue-to Sin, but that you may Weep over the Offences you have Offered-to Him? For says Saint Paul, if you Persevere in Sin and do not Repent, your Obstinacy and Impenitence shall Accumulate a Treasure-of Wrath against the Day-of Wrath, that is, the Day on which God shall Judge you. "But according to thy Hardness and Impenitent Heart, thou Treasurest up to thyself Wrath, against the Day of Wrath, and Revelation of the Just Judgment of God" - Romans 2:5.

To the Hardness of the Sinner shall succeed his Abandonment by God, Who will Say-of the Soul that is Obstinate in Sin, what He said of Babylon, "We would have Cured Babylon, but she is not Healed: let us Forsake her" - Jeremiah 51:9. And how does God Abandon the Sinner? He either sends him a Sudden Death, and Cuts him off in Sin, or He Deprives him of the Graces which would be Necessary-to bring him to True Repentance; He leaves him with the Sufficient Graces with which he can, but will not Save his Soul. The Darkness of his Understanding, the Hardness of his Heart, and the Bad Habits which he has Contracted, will Render his Conversion Morally Impossible. Thus he shall not be Absolutely, but Morally Abandoned. "And now I will shew you what I will do to my Vineyard. I will Take-away the Hedge thereof, and it shall be Wasted: I will Break-down the Wall thereof, and it shall be Trodden-down" - Isaiah 5:5. When the Master of the Vineyard Destroys its Hedges, does he not show that he Abandons it? It is thus that God Acts, when He Abandons a Soul. He takes-away the Hedge of Holy Fear and Remorse of Conscience, and leaves the Soul in Darkness, and then Vices crowd-into the Heart. "Thou hast Appointed Darkness, and it is Night: in it shall all the Beasts of the Woods go about" - Psalm 103:20. And the Sinner, Abandoned in the Abyss of Sins, will Despise Admonitions, Excommunications, Divine Grace, Chastisement, and Hell; he will make a Jest of his own Damnation. "The Wicked Man, when he is come into the Depths of Sins, contemneth" - Proverbs 18:3.

Cockle

"Why", asks the Prophet Jeremiah, "doth the Way of the Wicked Prosper?" - Jeremiah 12:1. He answers, "Gather them Together, as for the Day of Slaughter" - Jeremiah 12:3. Miserable the Sinner who is Prosperous in this Life! The Prosperity of Sinners is a Sign that God Wishes to give them a Temporal Reward for some Works which are Morally Good, but that He Reserves them as Victims of His Justice for Hell, where, like the Accursed Cockle, they shall be Cast to Burn for all Eternity (∞). "Suffer both to Grow until the Harvest, and in the Time of the Harvest I will say to the Reapers: Gather up First the Cockle, and bind it into Bundles to Burn, but the Wheat, gather ye into my Barn" - Matthew 13:30.

Thus, Not to be Punished in this Life, is the Greatest-of God's Chastisements on the Wicked, and has been Threatened against the Obstinate Sinner, by the Prophet Isaiah. "Let us have Pity on the Wicked, but he will not learn Justice" - Isaiah 26:10. On this Passage, Saint Bernard says: This Mercy, I do not Wish-for; it is Above all Wrath. "Misercordiam hane nolo; super omnem iram misercordia ista". And what Greater Chastisement, than to be Abandoned into the Hands-of Sin, so that, being Permitted-by God to Fall from Sin-to-Sin, the Sinner must, in the End, go to Suffer as many Hells as he has committed Sins? "Add thou Iniquity upon their Iniquity: and let them not come into Thy Justice. Let them be Blotted out of the Book of the Living; and with the Just, let them not be written" - Psalm 68:28-29. On these words Bellarmine writes, "There is no Punishment Greater than, when Sin is the Punishment of Sin". It would be Better, for such a Sinner to Die after the First (1st) Sin; because by Dying under the Load-of so many Additional Iniquities, he shall Suffer as many Hells as he has committed Sins. This is what happened to a certain Comedian in Palermo, whose name is Caesar. He one day told a Friend that Father La Nusa, a Missionary, foretold him that God should give him Twelve (12) Years to Live, and that if within that Time, he did not Change his Life, he should Die a Bad Death. Now, said he to his Friend: I have traveled through so many parts of the world. I have had many Attacks of Sickness, one of which nearly brought me to the Grave; but in this Month the Twelve Years shall be completed, and I feel myself in better health than in any of the past years. He then invited the Friend to listen-to a New Comedy which he had Composed. But what happened? On the 24th November 1688, the Day fixed-for the Comedy, as he was going on the Stage, he was Seized with Apoplexy, and Died suddenly. He Expired in the Arms-of a Female Comedian. Thus the Scene of this World, ended Miserably for him.

Let us make the Application-to ourselves, and Conclude the Discourse. Brethren, I Entreat you to give a glance at all the Bygone Years of your Life; look at the Grievous Offences you have Committed-against God, and at the Great Mercies which He has Shown-to you, the many Lights, He has Bestowed-upon you, and the many Times He has Called you to a Change-of Life. By this Sermon, He has Today given you a New Call. He appears to me to say to you, "What is there that I ought to do more to My Vineyard, that I have not done to it?" - Isaiah 5:4. What more ought I to do for you, that I have not done? What do you say? What Answer have you to make? Will you give yourselves to God, or will you Continue-to Offend Him? Consider, says Saint Augustine, that the Punishment of your Sins has been Deferred, not Remitted. "O Unfruitful Tree! the Axe has been Deferred. Be not Secure; you shall be Cut off". If you Abuse the Divine Mercy, you shall be Cut off; Vengeance shall soon Fall-upon you. What do you Wait for? Do you Wait till God sends you to Hell? The Lord has been hitherto Silent; but He is not Silent Forever (∞). When the Time-of Vengeance shall arrive, He will say, "These things hast thou done, and I was Silent. Thou thoughtest Unjustly that I should be like to thee: but I will Reprove thee, and set before thy Face" - Psalm 49:21. He will Set-before your Eyes the Graces which He Bestowed-upon you, and which you have Despised; these very Graces shall Judge and Condemn you. O Brethren, Resist no-longer the Calls of God; Tremble lest the Call which He gives you Today, may be the Last Call for you. Go to Confession as-soon-as possible, and make a Firm Resolution to Change your Lives. It is Useless to Confess your Sins, if you Afterwards Return-to your former Vices. But you will perhaps say that you have not Strength to Resist the Temptations by which you are Assailed. Listen to the Words of the Apostle, "God is Faithful, Who will not suffer you to be Tempted above that which you are able" - 1Corinthians 10:13. God is Faithful; He will not Permit you to be Tempted above your Strength. And if of yourself, you have not the Strength to Overcome the Devil, ask it from God, and He will give it to you. "Ask, and you shall Receive" - John 16:24. "Praising", said David, "I will Call upon the Lord: and I shall be Saved from my Enemies" - Psalm 17:4. And Saint Paul said, "I can do all these things in Him Who Strengtheneth me" - Philippians 4:13. Of myself I can do Nothing; but with the Divine Assistance I can do all things. Recommend yourself to God in all Temptations, and God will enable you to Resist them, and you shall not Fall.

 

- End of Liguori Sermon -

 

Prayer for the Graces Necessary for Salvation

Eternal Father, Your Son has Promised that You will Grant us all the Graces which we ask for in His Name. In the Name and Merits of Jesus Christ, I ask the following Graces for myself and for all Mankind. Please give me a Lively Faith in all that the Church Teaches. Enlighten me, that I may know the Vanity of the Goods of this World, and the Immensity of the Infinite Good that You are. Make me also see the Deformity of the Sins I have Committed, that I may Humble myself and Detest them as I should.

Give me a Firm Confidence of Receiving Pardon for my Sins, Holy Perseverance, and the Glory of Heaven, through the Merits of Jesus Christ, and the Intercession of Mary. Give me a Great Love for You, that will Detach me from the Love of this World, and of myself, so that I may Love none other, but You.

I Beg of You a Perfect Resignation to Your Will. I Offer myself entirely to You, that You might do with me, and all that belongs to me, as You Please.

I Beg of You a Great Sorrow for my Sins.

I ask You to give me the Spirit of True Humility and Meekness, that I may Accept with Peace, and even with Joy, all the Contempt, Ingratitude and Ill-treatment I may receive. At the same time, I also ask You to give me Perfect Charity, which shall make me wish well to those who have done Evil to me.

Give me Love for the Virtue of Mortification, by which I may Chastise my Rebellious Senses and oppose my Self-Love. Give me a Great Confidence in the Passion of Jesus Christ and in the Intercession of Mary Immaculate. Give me a Great Love for the Blessed Sacrament, and a Tender Devotion and Love to Your Holy Mother. Give me, above all, Holy Perseverance, and the Grace always to Pray for it, especially in Time-of Temptation, and at the Hour-of Death.

Finally, I recommend to You the Holy Souls of Purgatory, my Relatives and Benefactors, and in a special manner I recommend to You all those who Hate me or who have in any way Offended me; I Beg You to Render them Good, for the Evil they have done or may wish to do me. Grant that, by Your Goodness, I may come One Day to sing Your Mercies in Heaven; for my Hope is in the Merits of Your Blood and in the Patronage of Mary. Mary, Mother of God, 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