"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 to penance? [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, says 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 judge them. He hath called against me the time. [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 go about. [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.  [Prov. 18:3] THE IMMACULATE HEART

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. [Isa. 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. [Ezek. 16:42] --- 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 wicked prosper? 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 the living. [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 forever. [Ps. 88:2] I will praise Thy mercy, O my Jesus, I will forever 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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