God is Patient and Rich in Mercy.

“When Sister [Saint] Mechtilde was once praying for someone who was afraid God had not forgiven a fault he had committed, the Lord told her:

‘That would be impossible. Whosoever regrets his sins receives their pardon from Me. If he continues to grieve for them, I give My grace in addition.’ (p. 47 of ‘Divine Communications’, Vol. 2, by Rev. Auguste Saudreau)

The following encouraging words are from Fr. Mueller’s book, ‘The Prodigal Son, or, the Sinner’s Return to God’:

“The Lord waits,” says Isaias, “that He may show mercy to you.” (Isaiah 30:18)… He delays His punishments as long as possible, that the poor ungrateful wretch may repent and at last return to His friendship. And, when obliged to punish, when He can delay no longer, He does it with such slowness that He discharges His anger little by little, to oblige the sinner to repent of his sins and to arrest the arm of His vengeance. God might have destroyed the city of Jericho in one instant, yet He spent seven days in destroying it. In like manner, He might have destroyed the world by water in one moment, yet He spent forty days in this work. Why? In order that those who were destroyed might have time for doing penance, and so be saved. (p. 281)

Encouragement for Those Who Wish to Abandon Sin

“… God grants the same favors to holy penitents as to innocent souls, and thereby fulfils the promise made by Him through the prophet Ezechiel: “The wickedness of the wicked shall not hurt him in what day soever he shall turn from his wickedness.”  But not only do holy penitents receive the same favors as innocent saints, many of them even seem to be more highly favored by God. Which of the apostles was made Head of the Church? Was it St. John or St. James, whose lives were always blameless? Not so; it was St. Peter, who denied his divine Master three times. And did not St. Paul, who persecuted the Christians with implacable hatred, become a vessel of election to preach the Gospel among the Gentiles? The innocent apostle St. John always remained faithful to our Lord, and stood beneath His cross at Mount Calvary. Yet it was not to him that our dear Saviour appeared first after His resurrection, but to St. Peter, His sinful apostle. It was not Martha but Magdalen, the penitent, that sat at the feet of our Lord and listened to his sacred doctrine; and it was she, too, to whom our Lord first appeared after His resurrection. How great are the graces and privileges which our Lord afterwards granted to so many holy penitents! To St. Augustine, for instance; to St. Margaret of Cortona. To this last saint, in particular, who had formerly spent several years in sin, God revealed the place prepared for her in Heaven amongst the seraphim; and even during her life He showed her many signal favors, insomuch that, beholding herself so highly favored, she one day said to God: “Lord, how is it that Thou lavishest so many graces on me? Hast Thou, then, forgotten the sins I have committed against Thee?” “And have you for gotten,” our Lord answered, “what I have told you, that when a soul repents of her faults I no longer remember the outrages of which she has been guilty towards me?”

… But will not innocent souls murmur at this love and mercy of God for sinners? … Oh! no, holy innocent souls! Show yourselves content with all this… Persevere in your piety, and your reward is most certain. “My son, thou art always with me, and all I have is thine.”  

But do you, wretched sinners who have hitherto been prevented from returning to the Lord by the consideration of the great number and hideousness of your sins, hearken to the words of the wise man: “Think well of the Lord. Think of the Lord in goodness, and seek Him in simplicity of heart.” Think of the Lord in a manner worthy of His goodness and exceedingly great mercy. Should you have committed all the sins that ever were committed, should you have stayed from confession for how long soever, let all this be no reason for you to stay away any longer. God is ever ready to receive you with open arms, to embrace you as His dearly beloved children, with so much the more joy and gladness the further you have strayed away from Him. “Fear not,” said He one day to St. Margaret of Cortona “fear not to obtain the full remission of all thy sins. Thou wilt infallibly obtain it, and thou shalt inflame others colder and more coy. I have destined thee as an example to all poor sinners, in order that they may clearly understand that I am that compassionate Father who welcomes back His most rebellious and most contumacious children, and that, if they ask my pardon and prepare to receive my grace, they will ever find me ready to give it just as quickly as I have turned to thee.”  From the moment of your repentance, all the disorders, all the crimes, of your life, no matter how black, how hideous they may be, will be drowned, as it were, in the ocean of God’s mercy, and disappear as the darkest night disappears at the rising of the sun. “As far as the east is from the west,” says the Lord, “so far I will put away from me all your iniquities.” 

The Mercy of God Towards a Great Sinner

Father Patrignani (Corona d’Esempi, IV. Esemp. 13, t. iv.) relates that a certain woman had committed a great many crimes, but Jesus patiently waited for her conversion. As the woman seeks the lost penny in the sweepings, so did Jesus seek this lost soul in the very midst of her sinful career. This woman at last went so far in her wickedness as to receive Holy Communion unworthily. After having received, she drew from her mouth the sacred particle and placed it in a handkerchief. She then went to shut herself up in her room, where she threw the Blessed Sacrament on the ground, and began to trample it under her feet. But lo! she casts her eyes down, and what does she see ! She sees the Sacred Host changed into the form of a beautiful Infant, but all bruised and covered with blood; and the Infant Jesus said to her:

“What have I done to you that you treat me so ill?”

Upon which the wretched creature, full of contrition and repentance, threw herself on her knees in tears, and said to Him: “O my God, dost Thou ask me what Thou hast done to me? Thou hast loved me too much.” The vision disappeared, and the woman changed her life and became a model of penance. Oh! the great patience of God in waiting for the return of the sinner.

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