"Knowest thou not that the benignity of God leadeth thee to penance?" Rom. 2:4
The Sinner Abandoned by God
Some will say: God has hitherto shown me so many mercies, I hope
He will treat me with the
same mercy for the future. But I answer: And will you insult God again,
because He has been so merciful to you? Then, says St. Paul, do you
thus despise the mercy and patience of God? Do you not know that the
Lord has borne with you to this moment, not that you may continue to
offend Him, but that you may weep over the evil you have done? Despisest thou the riches of His goodness
and patience and
long-suffering? Knowest thou not that the benignity of God leadeth thee
[Rom. 2:4] If through confidence in the Divine
mercy you continue to sin, the Lord will cease to show mercy. Except you be converted,
David, He will brandish His sword.
[Ps. 7:13] Revenge is mine, and I
will repay thee in due time.
[Deut. 32:35] God
waits; but when the time of chastisement arrives, He waits no longer,
but executes vengeance.
Therefore the Lord waiteth, that He
may have mercy on you
. [Isa. 30:18] God waits for sinners, that
they may amend: but when He sees that the time given to bewail their
sins is employed in multiplying crimes, He then calls the very time to
them. He hath called against me the
[Lam. 1:15] "The very time," says
Gregory, "comes to judge." Thus the very time given, and the very
mercies shown to sinners, will serve to make God chastise them with
greater rigor, and abandon them sooner. We would have cured Babylon,
but she is not healed; let us forsake her.
[Jer. 2:9] And how
does God abandon
sinners? He either sends them a sudden death, and makes them die in
sin, or He deprives them of His abundant graces, and leaves them with
the sufficient grace, with which they can, but will not, save their
souls. The blindness of their understanding, the hardness of their
heart, the evil habits which they have contracted, will render their
salvation morally impossible; and thus they will be, if not absolutely,
at least morally abandoned. I will
take away the hedge thereof, and
it shall be wasted.
[Isa. 5:5] Oh! what a chastisement! When
the master of the
vineyard takes away its hedges, and leaves it open to men and to
beasts, does he not show that he abandons it? It is thus that God acts
when He abandons the soul: He takes away the hedge of holy fear, and of
remorse of conscience, and leaves it in darkness. And then all the
monsters of crime will enter the soul.
Thou hast appointed
darkness, and it is night: in it shall all the beasts of the wood
[Ps. 103:20] And the sinner, abandoned in that
obscurity, will despise
the grace of God, Heaven, admonitions, and excommunications; and
will make a jest of his own damnation.
The wicked man, when he is come into the depth of sins, contemneth.
God will not chastise the sinner in this life; but, not to be punished
in this world will be the greatest chastisement of the wicked. Let
us have pity on the wicked, but he will not learn justice
26:10] On this passage St. Bernard says, "This mercy I do not wish for:
it is above all wrath." Oh! what a
chastisement is it when God abandons the sinner into the hands of his
sins, and appears not to demand any further account of them! According to the multitude of His wrath He
will not seek him.
[Ps. 9:4] God
appears not to be enraged against sinners. My jealousy shall depart
from you, and I will cease and be angry no more.
--- He appears to
allow them all that they desire in this life. I let them go according
to the desires of their heart.
[Ps. 80:13] Miserable the sinner
that prospers in
this life! His prosperity is a sign that God waits to make him a victim
of His justice for eternity. Why,
said Jeremias, doth the way of the
He answers: Gather
them together as sheep for a sacrifice
. [Jer. 12:1] There is no
punishment greater than that which God
inflicts, when He permits a sinner to add sin to sin. Add thou
iniquity upon their iniquity ... let them be blotted out of the book of
[Ps. 68:28] In explaining these words, Bellarmine
says that there is
no punishment greater than when sin is the punishment of sin. It
would be a smaller punishment to be struck dead by the Lord after
their first sin; for, by dying afterward they will suffer as many hells
as they have committed sins.
Affections and Prayers
My God! I know that in my miserable state I have deserved to be
deprived of Thy grace and light: but seeing the light which Thou now
givest me, and feeling that Thou now callest me to repentance, I have
just reason to hope that Thou hast not as yet abandoned me. And since,
O Lord! Thou hast not abandoned me, multiply Thy mercies on my soul.
increase Thy light, increase my desire to serve and love Thee. Change
me, O omnipotent God! and from being a traitor and rebel, make me a
great lover of Thy goodness, that I may one day enter Heaven to praise
Thy mercies for all eternity. Thou dost then wish to pardon me, and I
desiree nothing but the pardon of my sins and the gift of Thy love. I
am sorry O infinite Goodness! for having so often offended Thee. I love
Thee, O Sovereign Good! because Thou commandest me to love Thee; I love
Thee, because Thou well deservest my love. Ah, my Redeemer, through the
merits of Thy Blood, give Thy love to a sinner whom Thou hast loved so
ardently, and whom Thou hast borne with so patiently for so many years:
I hope for every grace from Thy mercy. I hope to love Thee always till
death, and for eternity. The mercies
of the Lord I will sing
. [Ps. 88:2] I will praise Thy mercy, O my Jesus, I will
praise thy mercy. O Mary! who hast obtained for me so many graces; I
acknowledge that I have received them all through thine intercession.
Continue, O my Mother! to assist me by thy prayers, and to obtain for
me holy perseverance.
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