Taken from Preparation for Death

"Mercy exalteth itself above judgment." St. James 2:13

The Mercy of God

God Waits for the Sinner

GOOD is naturally diffusive --- that is, inclined to communicate its good even to others. But God, Who is by nature infinite goodness, as St. Leo expresses himself, has an infinite desire to impart His Own felicity to us; and therefore His inclination is, not to chastise, but to show mercy to all. To punish is, according to Isaias, a work opposed to the inclination of God. He shall be angry ... that He may do His work, His strange work: His work is strange to Him." [28:21] And when the Lord chastises in this life, He does it in order to show mercy in the next. O God! ... Thou hast been angry, and hast had mercy on us." [Ps. 54:3] He appears angry that we may enter into ourselves and detest our sins. Thou hast shown Thy people hard things; Thou hast made us drink the wine of sorrow. [Ps. 54:5] And when He sends us any chastisement, He does it because He loves us, and wishes to deliver us from eternal punishment. Thou hast given a warning to them that fear Thee, that they may flee from before the bow, that thy beloved may be delivered. [Ps. 59:6] And who can sufficiently admire and praise the mercy of God toward sinners in waiting for them, in calling them, and in receiving them when they return? Oh! how great is the mercy of God in waiting for our repentance! My brother, when you offended God, he could have struck you dead; but he waited for you, and instead of chastising you, IMMACULATE HEARThe conferred favors upon you, he preserved your life, and provided for you. He pretended not to see your sins, that you might repent. Thou overlookest the sins of men for the sake of penance. [Wis. 11:24] But, O Lord, how does it happen that Thou canst not bear to behold a single sin, and beholdest so many of them in silence? Thou canst not look on iniquity; Why lookest Thou upon them that do unjust things, and holdest Thy peace? [Habac. 1:13] Thou lookest upon the blasphemer, the unchaste, the vindictive man, multiplying iniquities from day to day; and Thou dost not chastise him: and why so much patience. Therefore the Lord waiteth that He may have mercy on thee. [Is. 30:18] God waits for sinners, that they may amend, and that thus He may pardon and save them.

 St. Thomas says, that all creatures, fire, the earth, air, water, by a natural instinct, would wish to punish and to take vengeance on the injuries done to their Creator. [Wis. 16:24] But God in His mercy restrains them. But, O Lord! Thou waitest for these impious wretches, that they may see their wickedness: but dost not Thou see that they ungratefully take advantage of Thy mercy to offend Thee still more? Thou hast been favorable to the nation: Thou hast been favorable to the nation: art Thou glorified?  [Is. 26:15] And why so much patience? Because God wills not the death of the sinner, but that he be converted and live. [Ezek. 33:11] O patience of God! St. Augustine goes so far as to say that God, were He not God, would be unjust on account of His excessive patience toward sinners. To wait for those who abuse patience to become more insolent, appears to be an injustice to the Divine honor. "We sin," continues the holy Doctor, "we adhere to sin."  Some make peace with sin, and sleep in sin for months and years. "Gaudemus de peccato" --- We rejoice at sin; others go so far as to boast of their wickedness; and Thou art appeased. We provoke Thee to anger --- Thou invitest us to mercy. We appear to be engaged with God in a contest in which we labor to provoke Him to chastise our guilt; and He invites us to pardon.

Affections and Prayers

Ah. my Lord! I know that I deserve to be at this moment in Hell. Hell is my house. [Job 17:13] But. through Thy mercy, I am not now in that place of woe, but I am here at Thy feet, and feel that Thou wishest and commandest me to love Thee. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God. [Deut. 6;5] I hear Thee tell me that Thou wilt pardon me if I repent of the injuries I have done Thee. Yes, my God: since Thou wishest me, a miserable rebel against Thy majesty, to love Thee, I love Thee with my whole heart. and I feel more regret for the outrages I have offered to Thee. than for any evil that could have befallen me. Ah! enlighten me, O infinite Goodness; make me sensible of the wrongs I have done Thee. I will no longer resist Thy calls. I will give no more displeasure to a God Who has loved me so tenderly, Who has pardoned me so often and with so much love. Ah! that I had never offended Thee, my Jesus; pardon me. and grant that. from this day forward, I may love nothing but Thee: that I may live only for Thee, Who didst die for me; that I may suffer for Thy love, since Thou hast suffered so much for the love of me. Thou hast loved me from eternity; Grant that for eternity I may burn with Thy love. I hope for all things, O my Saviour, through Thy merits; I trust also in thee, O Mary; save me by thy intercession.