"Knowest thou not that the benignity of God leadeth thee to penance?" Rom. 2:4

Unfortunate is he who allows the Time of Mercy to pass by

 It is related in the life of Father Louis La Nusa, that in Palermo there two friends, who went one day to take a walk. One of them, called Caesar, who was a comedian, seeing the other oppressed with melancholy, said: How long is it since you were at confession? Is it on account of your long absence from the Sacraments that you are so much troubled? Listen to me: "Father La Nusa told me one day that God gave me twelve years to live, and that if, within that period, I did not amend, I should die an unhappy death. I have since travelled through so many parts of the world; I have had many attacks of sickness, one of which brought me to the brink of death; but, in this month the twelve years will be completed. and I now feel better than in any part of my past life." He then invited his friend to hear, on Saturday, a new comedy, which he had composed. But what happened? On Saturday, the 24th of November, 1688, as he was going on the stage, he was seized with apoplexy, and died suddenly. He expired in the arms of a female comedian, and thus the comedy ended. But let us make the application to ourselves. Brother, when the devil tempts you again to sin, if you wish to be lost, you have it in your power to commit sin: but do not then say that you wish to be saved. As long as you wish to sin, regard yourself as damned, and imagine that God writes the sentence of your damnation, and that He says to you: What is there that I ought to do more for My vineyard, that I have not done to it? [Isa. 5:4] Ungrateful soul, what more ought I to do for you, that I have not done? But, since you wish to be lost, go into eternal fire; the fault. is your own.

But you will say, Where then is the mercy of God? Ah, unhappy soul? Do you not feel that God has shown you mercy in bearing with you for so many years, after so many sins? You should remain forever prostrate on the earth, thanking Him for His mercy, and saying: The mercies of the Lord that we are not consumed. [Lam. 3:22] By committing a single mortal sin, you have been guilty of a greater crime than if you had trampled under foot the first monarch in the world. You have been guilty of so many mortal sins, that if you had committed against your brother the injuries which you have offered to God, he would not have borne with you. God has not only waited for you, but He has so often called you and invited you to pardon. What is there that I ought to have done more? If God had stood in need of you, or if you had conferred a great favor upon Him, could He show you greater mercy? If, then, you offend Him again, you will change His mercy into wrath and vengeance.
If, after the master had given it another year to produce fruit, the fruitless fig tree still remained barren, who could expect that the Lord would have allowed it more time, or would not have cut it down? Listen, then, to the admonition of St. Augustine: "O fruitless tree! the axe is deferred; be not secure: you will be cut down." Your punishment, says the Saint, has been delayed, but not taken away; if you abuse any longer the Divine mercy, you shall be cut down: in the end vengeance will fall upon you. What do you wait for? Will you wait till God sends you to Hell? But should He send you there, you already know that your ruin is irreparable! The Lord is silent, but He is not silent forever: when the time of vengeance arrives He no longer holds His peace. These things hast thou done and I was silent.. Thou thoughtest unjustly that I should be like to thee. I will reprove thee, and set before thy face. [Ps. 49:21] I will place before your eyes the mercies I have shown you, and will make these very mercies judge and condemn you.

Affections and Prayers

Ah, my God! unhappy me, should I henceforth be unfaithful to Thee, and betray Thee again after the light Thou now givest me. This light is a sign that Thou wishest to pardon me. I repent, O Sovereign Good! of all the injuries I have done Thee because they have offended Thee, Who art infinite goodness. In Thy Blood I hope for pardon, and I hope for it with certainty; but should I again turn my back upon Thee, I would deserve a Hell created on purpose for myself. And what makes me tremble, O God of my soul! is, that I may again lose Thy grace. I have so often promised to be faithful to Thee, and have afterward rebelled against Thee. Ah, Lord! do not permit it; do not ever abandon me to the great misfortune of seeing myself again Thine enemy. Send me any chastisement, but not this. Do not permit me to be separated from Thee. Shouldst Thou see that I shall again offend Thee, strike me dead, rather than permit so great an evil. I am content to suffer the most cruel death, sooner than have to weep over the misery of being again deprived of Thy grace. Do not permit me to be separated from Thee. I repeat this prayer, O my God: grant that I may repeat it always. Do not permit me to be separated from Thee. I love Thee, my dear Redeemer! I do not wish to be separated from Thee. Through the merits of Thy death, give me an ardent love, which will bind me so closely to Thee, that I may never more be able to dissolve the union. O Mary, my mother! I fear that if I again offend God, thou too wilt abandon me. Assist me, then, by thy prayers; obtain for me holy perseverance and the love of Jesus Christ.


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