St. Faustina, the great Apostle of God’s Mercy, wrote: “I would like to be a priest, for then I would speak without cease about Your mercy to sinful souls drowned in despair.” For her powerful intercession and witness, I would like to thank her by sharing some words of encouragement for such souls:
“…do not yield to despair! For as long as a breath of life remains a man may have recourse to mercy and ask for pardon.” – Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez
“Write then that I make the most beautiful masterpieces with the most miserable subjects, provided they will let Me. When a soul repents of her faults and deplores them, thinkest thou I am so hard as to not receive her? If so, thou knowest not My Heart. My most loving Heart has such a thirst for the salvation of souls, that when they return to Me I cannot contain My joy; I run to meet them.” – Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero
“If you are still young, if already the scandals of your life have lowered you in the eyes of the world, do not be afraid. . . . Even if there is reason to treat you as a criminal, to insult and cast you off . . . your God has no wish to see you fall into the flames of hell. … On the contrary He ardently desires you to come to Him so that He may forgive you. If you dare not speak to Him, at least look at Him and let the sighs of your heart reach Him, and at once you will find His kind and fatherly hand stretched out to lead you to the springs of pardon and life.” – Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez
“Should it happen that you have spent the greater part of your life in impiety and indifference, and that the sudden approach of the hour of death fills you with blinding despair . . . Oh! do not let yourself be deceived, for there is still time for pardon. If only one second of life remains to you, in that one second you can buy back eternal life!” – Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez
“If your whole life has been spent in ignorance and error . . . if you have been a cause of great evil to other men, to society at large, or to religion, and if through some set of circumstances you have come to realize that you have been deceived … do not allow yourself to be crushed by the weight of your sins and of the evil of which you have been the instrument; but with a soul penetrated with deep contrition throw yourself into an abyss of confidence, and hasten to Him who awaits your return only to pardon you.” – Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez
“Oh soul whom I love, pay no heed to this ruthless enemy … but as soon as possible have recourse to Me, and filled with deepest contrition implore My mercy and have no fear. I will forgive you.” – Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez
“How St. Francis converted three murderous robbers who became friars…
‘Father, we for our many wicked wins believe we cannot return to the mercy of God; but if thou have some hope that God in His mercy will receive us, lo, we are ready to do thy bidding and to do penance with thee.’ Then St. Francis received them with loving-kindness and comforted them with many examples, and made them confident in God’s mercy, promising he would surely obtain it for them from God. He told them that the mercy of God was infinite, and that, according to the gospel, even if our sins were infinite, His mercy was yet greater than our sins; and that the Apostle St. Paul hath said, ‘Christ the blessed came into the world to save sinners.’ Hearing these words and the like teachings, the said three robbers renounced the devil and all his works, and St. Francis received them into the Order, and they began to do great penance. And two of them lived but a brief space after their conversion and went to paradise… the third lived on, and… gave himself up to penance…” (From ‘The Little Flowers of St. Francis’, Dover Thrift Editions)
To those who are particularly hardened in despair, ask God for the grace of a confident repentance. Despair wounds the tender Heart of Jesus and greatly offends Him. St. Catherine of Siena said that Judas was primarily lost because of his final act of despair at the “moment of death“. (Despair is forgivable with repentance. This is obvious when we know that repentance is impossible without grace. God desires that all hope in Him, but if we continually refuse God’s mercy, He will at some point leave us in that “self-imposed disposition”, as Jesus said to St. Faustina. Similarly, St. Thomas More said that Judas was guilty of “refusing to be saved”. How can God conquer a hard, blind and impenitent heart? Jesus said to Sr. Consolata Betrone: “You see, final impenitence is found only in a soul who purposely wishes to go to Hell and therefore obstinately refuses My mercy, for I never refuse to pardon anyone.” The mystics tell us that Mary (whose prayers are “all-powerful” with God), prayed fervently for the conversion of Judas, but he did not respond to this immense grace. Mary wept bitterly over the tragic fate of Judas.
To those who are in despair, or who are tempted to despair, here is some advice from St. Josemaria Escriva, from ‘The Way’: “That is nearly always the way the devil tackles souls who are going to resist him: hypocritically, quietly, with motives… of a spiritual nature! Trying not to attract attention. — And then, when there seems to be no way out (though there is), he comes brazenly trying to gain another Judas-like success — despair without repentance”.
“Consider that at that last moment, if you have lived sinfully… The dog of conscience that had been so weakened will begin to bark so incessantly that it will all but drive your soul to despair. But no one ought to despair. No, reach out trustingly for the blood, no matter what sins you have committed, for my mercy, which you receive in the blood, is incomparably greater than all the sins that have ever been committed in the world.” – God to St. Catherine
From St. John Vianney’s Catechism (with Imprimatur; TAN Books):
CHAPTER 19: Catechism on Hope
“My children, there is so little faith now in the world that people either hope too much, or they despair. Some say, “I have done too much evil; the good God cannot pardon me.” My children, this is a great blasphemy; it is putting a limit to the mercy of God, which has no limit – it is infinite. You may have done evil enough to lose the souls of a whole parish, and if you confess, if you are sorry for having done this evil, and resolve not to do it again, the good God will have pardoned you.
A priest was once preaching on hope, and on the mercy of the good God. He reassured others, but he himself despaired. After the sermon, a young man presented himself, saying, “Father, I am come to confess to you.” The priest answered, “I am willing to hear your confession.” The other recounted his sins, after which he added, “Father, I have done much evil; I am lost!” “What do you say, my friend! We must never despair.” The young man rose, saying, “Father, you wish me not to despair, and what do you do?” This was a ray of light; the priest, all astonishment, drove away that thought of despair, became a religious and a great saint* … The good God had sent him an angel under the form of a young man, to show him that we must never despair. The good God is as prompt to grant us pardon when we ask it of Him as a mother is to snatch her child out of the fire.” (* And so can you! Listen to the words of St. Faustina who herself was overomce by despair at times: “Let no soul, even the most miserable, fall prey to doubt; for as long as one is alive, each one can become a great saint, so great is the power of God’s grace. It remains only for us not to oppose God’s action.”)
“I want all souls to have confidence in My mercy, to expect all from My clemency, and never to doubt my readiness to forgive. I am God, but a God of Love! I am a Father, but a Father full of compassion and never harsh. My love never changes. It is my joy to forgive.” – Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez
“The mercy of God is infinite and NEVER refuses to forgive sinners… My Heart takes comfort in forgiving. I have no greater desire, no greater joy, than when I can pardon a soul… When a soul returns to Me after a fall, the comfort she gives Me is a gain for her, for I regard her with very great love.” – Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez (Give Jesus this joy! As Jesus said to Sr. Mary of the Trinity: “The greatest give you can make Me is to receive Me.” Closing our hearts to God will leave us cold and unhappy. Let God love you! As He said to St. Catherine: “Mercy is what I do”).
[Josefa asked if He remembered our faults after they were forgiven. Jesus replied:] “As soon as a soul throws itself at My feet and implores My forgiveness, Josefa, I forget all her sins.” – Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez
“However great is the number of your frailties, far greater are the mercies of My Heart…My love never changes.” – Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez
“Do not worry about your miseries; My Heart is the Throne of Mercy, and the most wretched are the best welcomed, as long as they come to lose themselves in the abyss of My love.” – Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez
“Oh! If souls only realized how I wait for them in mercy. I am the love of all loves, and it is My joy to forgive.” – Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez
******* “… your sins will NEVER be as great as My mercy, which is infinite.” *******
– Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez