(The revelation at the bottom of this post is worth pondering!)
“Those who are lost are lost because they willed it, because to arrive at damnation they must have refused thousands of graces and good inspirations that God gave them, hence it is their own fault.”
– Revelation of a soul to Sister M. de L. C.
A Dominican nun (a saint) one day begged of God that He would close the entrance to Hell, so as to hinder souls from falling there. God replied that He is unable to do so. Why? Because Love is not unjust. If a king, for example, destroyed all prisons, evil would multiply without measure. God sets a limit to evil, not only for the sake of the sinners, but for the sake of the innocent. Consider the sin of scandal, which prevents so many souls from entering the Church and being saved! Our Lord speaks very strongly about scandal in the Bible.
God loves souls tremendously. He is infinitely merciful to the repentant and to those who fear Him ie. who keep His commandments. Many fail to realise that those who abuse God’s mercy will receive His justice. God’s great love is a reason to obey Him and seek to please Him.
It is evident from the Holy Scriptures that God desires the salvation of all men. Does it follow, then, that all will be saved? No, unfortunately. How much charity, then, must we show towards those who live sinful lives or who do not know God! This charity is merely a participation in the Divine Charity ie. in the love of God for souls. This love becomes operant in us to the extent that we unite our will with God’s will. To gain a better appreciation of God’s love for souls (which we are called to imitate as far as is possible), we should consider the following truths:
1. God loves us because He is good. Everything good we have comes from God. We can reject His love, but we can never, ever earn it. That is a consoling and humbling truth.
2. God desires our love for Our sake. God does not need our love; our love adds nothing to God’s infinite goodness. He abases Himself to ask for our love, because He created us out of love, to love, and for love (ie. for Himself).
3. God loves His enemies. Jesus died for even the worst criminals, and He has drawn many great sinners to repentance and salvation. The grace of repentance is a more valuable treasure than any earthly gift, because grace is a participation in the divine nature; grace unites us to God, our final end.
4. God punishes the guilty with reluctance. Jesus came to save sinners, not to condemn them. He would not undergo such excruciating torments if He was unwilling to apply the fruits of His redemption to souls. Christians have a crucial role to play here: evangelisation, prayer and holiness are our privilege and duty! A sinful soul impedes the redemption of others.
“For although the gift of being God’s belongs to God, yet this is a gift which God denies to no one, but offers to
all, and gives to those who freely consent to receive it.”
– St. Francis de Sales
The following revelation is quoted for the purpose of reinforcing the four aforementioned ideas. God loves all souls, including the most sinful. “Come to Me,” He says. “Keep the commandments,” He adds. There is nothing more to it. Salvation is ours if we die with humble and contrite hearts, even if we had lived like St. Dismas, the Good Thief. God asks us to obey Him, not because He places conditions on His love, but because our hearts wither and die when they turn away from God, Who is love itself; He is our final end, and the commandments tend towards that sublime end!
Jesus, speaking of those who die in unrepented mortal sin, revealed to Blessed Battista Varani that His love for all sinners – even those with whom He is justly “angry” (God does not get angry as such; His love never changes) – is infinite:
In the overwhelming sorrow produced by the thought of this fatal for ever,
I would willingly have consented to suffer, not once, but an infinite number of times, these cruel separations, with their different lacerations, to recover but one of these souls,
and see it again united to My living members, that is, to My elect who live eternally in the Holy Spirit, by the life which comes from Me, Who am the living life, that is, the life of all living creatures.
You may judge by all that I have said, how inexpressibly dear a human soul is to Me.