God Is Merciful, Yet Many Are Lost Every Day

God is merciful! Yes; the mercy of God is infinite; but with all that mercy, how many are lost every day! I come to heal the contrite of heart! God heals those sinners who have a good will. He pardons their sins, but He cannot pardon their determination to go on sinning.

I.

The sinner says: But God is merciful. I reply: Who denies it? The mercy of God is infinite; but with all that mercy, how many are lost every day! I come to heal the contrite of heart. (Is. lxi. 1). God heals those who have a good will. He pardons sin; but He cannot pardon the determination to sin. The sinner will reply: But I am young. You are young: but God does not count years, but sins. And this reckoning of sins is not the same for all. In one, God pardons a hundred sins, in another a thousand, another He casts into hell after the second sin. How many has the Lord sent there at the first sin! St. Gregory relates that a child of five years old was cast into hell for uttering a blasphemy. The Blessed Virgin revealed to that great servant of God, Benedicta of Florence, that a girl of twelve years old was condemned for her first sin. Another child of eight years sinned, and after his first sin, died and was lost. We are told in the Gospel of St. Matthew, that the Lord immediately cursed the fig-tree the first time that He found it without fruit, and it withered: May no fruit grow on thee forever! (Matt. xxi. 19). Another time God said: For three crimes of Damascus, and for four, I will not convert it. (Amos i. 3). Some presumptuous man may perhaps ask the reason of God why He pardons three and not four sins. In this we must adore the Divine judgments of God, and say with the Apostle: O the depth of the riches, of the wisdom, and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are his judgments, and how unsearchable his ways! (Rom. xi. 33). St. Augustine says: “He well knows whom He pardons and whom He does not pardon; when He shows mercy to any one, it is gratuitous on His part; and when He denies it, He denies it justly.”

The obstinate sinner will reply: But I have so often offended God, and He has pardoned me; I hope, therefore, He will pardon me this other sin. But I say: And because God has not hitherto punished you, is it always to be thus? The measure will be filled up, and the chastisement will come. Samson, continuing his wanton conduct with Dalila, hoped nevertheless to escape from the hands of the Philistines, as he had done before; I will go out as I did before and shake myself. (Jud. xvi. 20). But that last time he was taken, and lost his life. Say not, I have sinned, and what harm hath befallen me? Say not, says the Lord, I have committed so many sins, and God has never punished me: For the Most High is a patient rewarder. (Ecclus. v. 4). That is, the time will come when He will repay all; and the greater His mercy has been, so much the greater will be the punishment.

When I am tempted, O my merciful God, I will instantly and always have recourse to Thee. Hitherto I have trusted in my promises and my resolutions, and I have neglected to recommend myself to Thee in my temptations; and this has been my ruin. No; from this day henceforth Thou shalt be my hope and my strength; and thus shall I be able to accomplish all things. Give me the grace, then, through Thy merits, O my Jesus, to recommend myself always to Thee, and to implore Thy aid in my necessities. I love Thee, O my Sovereign Good, amiable above all that is amiable, and Thee only will I love; but Thou must help me. And thou also, O Mary my Mother, thou must help me by thy intercession; keep me under the mantle of thy protection, and grant that I may always call upon thee when I am tempted; thy name shall be my defence.

II.

St. Chrysostom says, that we ought to fear more when God bears with the obstinate sinner than when He punishes him: “There is more cause to fear when He forbears than when He quickly punishes”; because, according to St. Gregory, God punishes more rigorously those whom He waits for with most patience, if they remain ungrateful: “Whom He waits for the longer He the more severely condemns.” Often, adds the Saint, do those whom He has borne with for a long time die suddenly at last, without having time to be converted: “Often those who have been borne with a long time are snatched away by sudden death, so that it is not permitted them to shed a tear before they die.” Especially, the greater the light which God has given you has been, the greater will be your blindness and obstinacy in sin: For it had been better for them (said St. Peter) not to have known the way of justice, than after they had known it, to turn back. (2 Peter ii. 21). And St. Paul said, that it is impossible (morally speaking) for a soul that sins after being enlightened to be again converted: For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift … and are fallen away, to be renewed again unto penance. (Heb. vi. 4, 6).

Terrible, indeed, is what the Lord says against those who are deaf to His calls: Because I have called and you have refused … I also will laugh in your destruction, and will mock when that shall come to you which you feared. (Prov. i. 24, 26). Take notice of those two words, I also; they signify that as the sinner has mocked God, confessing, promising, and yet always betraying Him, so the Lord will mock him at the hour of death. Moreover, the Wise Man says: As a dog that returneth to his vomit, so is the fool that repeateth his folly. (Prov. xxvi. 11). So he who relapses into the sins he has detested in Confession, becomes odious to God.

Behold me, O my God, at Thy feet. I am that loathsome sinner who so often returned to feed upon the forbidden fruit which I had before detested. I do not deserve mercy, O my Redeemer; but the Blood Thou hast shed for me encourages and compels me to hope for it. How often have I offended Thee, and Thou hast pardoned me! I have promised never again to offend Thee; and yet I have returned to the vomit, and Thou hast again pardoned me. Do I wait, then, for Thee to send me straight to hell–or to give me over to my sins which would be a greater punishment than hell? No, my God, I will amend; and that I may be faithful to Thee, I will place all my trust in Thee.

 

(Meditation for Monday, First Week of Lent – by St Alphonsus Liguori)

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13 Responses to God Is Merciful, Yet Many Are Lost Every Day

  1. 000rjbennett says:

    Excellent, but who wrote it? Sounds like St. Alphonsus Liguori, but there’s no author listed and no link to another website with the original essay.

  2. Toad says:

    ‘How many has the Lord sent (to Hell) at the first sin! ”
    Anyone got any idea? Rhetorical question, perhaps?
    Not my idea of a ‘merciful’ God – but what do I know

    Try it again:

  3. kathleen says:

    Not my idea of a ‘merciful’ God – but what do I know

    Not very much it appears, dear Toad! That is, if you believe the depiction of Jesus the raging, threatening Protestant preacher in your video makes is a true reflection of Our Merciful Saviour.
    It is precisely this sort (^) of distortion of the true Face of Jesus, just as much as the liberal’s pansy, wimpish distortion so commonly spread around these last 50+ years, that have led numerous Christians to abandon their Faith. What a devastating tragedy! The manipulation of the truth has been made by fallen men in the clutches of envious old Satan, “who prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” – (1 Peter 5:8).

    We must beat him! Read the Gospels, the writings of the saints and the holy Popes, the trusty Catechisms of the Catholic Church – IOW, reliable sources, and then go to the Sacraments and pray, and you will discover the real Face of Our Loving Crucified Saviour.

    Can you even begin to imagine how much God must love us and desire our salvation, when He left the immense glory and joy of Heaven to come down to this vale of tears to suffer and die the most agonising of deaths for our sake? Is that not MERCY personified? And LOVE, a profound “love” beyond anything we could imagine.

    Everything we do in life, good or bad, has consequences. Sin (mortal sin) is a turning away from God; it is a chosen preference for evil and a refusal to accept that mercy God offers us, and that sanctifying grace our souls need so much to put us on the path to Heaven. That is why the great saints like St Alphonsus Liguori spoke so strongly to warn us of the dangers of grave sin. Venial sin is bad too of course, and weakens our will against grave sin if we do nothing to combat it, but only mortal sin is a conscience non serviam to God’s Divine Law.

    As Father Z continually reminds us every time he gets onto the subject of sin or the Four Last Things: GO TO CONFESSION.

  4. Toad says:

    What bothers me, Kathleen – – is the notion that God can permit, or consign, any creature , man or animal, to be damned forever. It is utterly obscene. Vile.
    That’s it.

    ”…just as much as the liberal’s pansy, wimpish distortion .”
    That would be me.

  5. kathleen says:

    Hmmm…. I seem to remember we’ve had this discussion a few dozen times before, haven’t we Toad? 😉

    Once again, I think your premise is wrong: rather than God consigning anyone to Hell, the person dying in unrepentant mortal sin is refusing God’s final chance (out of tens of thousands he had probably been given during his life) to turn back to His love and forgiveness.
    The unrepentant sinner is choosing an existence away from God’s Divine countenance. The overwhelming shame that swamps his whole being at that last terrible moment when he (or she) contemplates the indescribable Love and Goodness of God Whom he has continually rejected during his earthly life is too much for the soul; he will scream out in agony for release from it. In His mercy, God will hear him. That sinner would rather be in Hell for all eternity, for Hell is the only ‘place’ where God is absent forever. It is the destiny chosen, through our own free will, for all who have rejected God.

    I know – it is an unbearable thought that anyone could choose such a destiny, but we know that there are souls who do. Our Blessed Lord has told us this in very many places of His public life in order to prevent us going there.

    Hell exists… but so does Purgatory where we can be purged from our sins. The souls in Purgatory suffer too, a lot, but they are not in despair. (They are not enemies of God as the hardened sinner had become.) After they have been given that glimpse of the Beatific Vision at the moment of their death, and through the grace of God, begged forgiveness for their sins, they are willing to be cleansed, for however long it takes, of every last trace of sinfulness before their homecoming to Heaven. Nothing impure will ever enter Heaven – (Rev. 21:27).

    That is why it is of such vital importance to pray always for the conversion of sinners.

    Hope this helps. (Probably doesn’t 🙄!)

  6. Toad says:

    ”I know – it is an unbearable thought that anyone could choose such a destiny, but we know that there are souls who do. ”
    How do we know that, Kathleen?

    Given the choice, I’d choose Heaven – every time. It sounds boring, but at least it’s not painful.

  7. Toad says:

    ”.. if you (Toad) believe the depiction of Jesus the raging, threatening Protestant preacher in your video makes is a true reflection of Our Merciful Saviour.”
    You miss my point Kathleen. I certainly don’t believe in the God touted in the video here. But He seems uncomfortably close to the one cited in articles on CP&S. Is there butter in the Catholic Hell?
    …I doubt it.
    I was threatened with the fires of Hell from the age of about five onward. So was Gertrude, but she won’t ever admit it. And it’s what CP&S does frequently now. (Which is why I hang in here.)

  8. kathleen says:

    How do we know there are souls in Hell, Toad?
    Because Our Blessed Lord, Who is The Truth, told us so. Some verses appear to be warnings but other times Our Lord made it known that there are souls that are damned: e,g., “Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire” (Matthew 25:41); “you shall see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out” Luke 13:28; referring to the entrance to Hell, “and many there are who go in thereat” (Matt 7:13).

    These Lenten meditation from St Alphonsus Liguori we are posting shed many lights on the subject, today’s one too.

    Besides, it does not start with the Catholic teachers of your youth who were “threatening”you with Hell – warning you more like – nor our posts on CP&S… it forms part of evangelisation of The Word of God, thus Revelation, and the Magisterial teaching of the Catholic Church.

    Our Lady of Fatima showed the terrible vision of Hell to the little seers, mere children, to shake up a world that was already beginning to doubt the reality of Hell.
    There is Heaven (for which we were created), and there is Hell for those who refuse Heaven by rejecting God.

    Don’t like it?
    Well, you’d better take your complaints to God then.

    P.S. Heaven, “boring”? 😱 Nothing could be further from the truth.

  9. JabbaPapa says:

    He pardons their sins, but He cannot pardon their determination to go on sinning.

    If this were true, then none of us would be forgiven our Original Sin in Baptism.

    Quite apart from which, nearly every statement starting with “God cannot” is intrinsically and radically false.

  10. JabbaPapa says:

    Anyone got any idea?

    No.

  11. JabbaPapa says:

    We must beat him! Read the Gospels, the writings of the saints and the holy Popes, the trusty Catechisms of the Catholic Church – IOW, reliable sources, and then go to the Sacraments and pray, and you will discover the real Face of Our Loving Crucified Saviour.

    Yes.

  12. mmvc says:

    He pardons their sins, but He cannot pardon their determination to go on sinning.

    Jabba, I think that Saint Alphonsus was referring here to the sin against the Holy Spirit, the sin of obstinate and determined impenitence until the very end, which is the only unforgivable sin.

    “God predestines no one to go to hell; for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end.” (CCC 1037)

  13. JabbaPapa says:

    I see what you mean, thanks.

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