(Words taken from p. 294-296 of ‘The Sinner’s Return to God’ by Fr. Mueller):
“Father Lireus relates the following story: A certain young nobleman gave himself up to gambling. In one afternoon he lost all his money, and contracted a great debt besides.
Enraged at this loss, he commenced to utter the most frightful blasphemies. “Now, Jesus Chris!” said he blasphemously, “I am done with Thee; I no longer care for Thee nor for Thy threats; Thou canst not make me suffer a greater loss than I have sustained to-day.” What happened? In the afternoon of that very day he met with an accident. The carriage in which he was riding home was upset and he broke his leg. The fracture was very bad and brought on a dangerous fever, so much so, that the physicians entertained serious doubts about his recovery. The young man now understood that God was able to make him undergo a still greater loss than that of his money, to wit, his health and even his life probably. But instead of entering into himself and asking God’s pardon, this great sinner blasphemed God more than ever. “God,” said he, “Thou rejoicest in showing how it is in Thy power to punish me still more severely. Very well, show me now that Thou canst inflict on me the greatest punishment possible. And since, after the loss of my money, health, and life, there is no greater misfortune than that of eternal damnation, show me how it is in Thy power to cast me into hell. If I were Thy God” horrible to relate, horrible to hear “if I were Thy God, I would do this to Thee also!” most horrible blasphemy! Why was it that hell did not open that very instant to devour so execrable a blasphemer? But God is merciful. As the impious young man in his despair and rage refused to listen to any good advice, God inspired His servant to enter his room and whisper into his ear the following words: “My lord, there is a good friend of yours here who wishes to take leave of you.” “Who is it?” asked the dying sinner; “let him come in.” At these words the good servant showed him a crucifix, saying: “Behold, my lord, this is your best friend, who wishes to say a word to you.” At that very moment the grace of God touched the heart of the blasphemer, and enlightened him to see his miserable state. He raised his eyes and fixed them on the crucifix. The eyes of the crucifix seemed to become alive, and to cast looks of mercy upon the dying man, and he beard a voice coming forth from the crucifix saying unto him: “My child, I will show you that it is in my power to do to you what is best and not what is worst. Had I wished to cast you into hell, I could have done so long ago. But no, my child, I will do to you not what is worst, but what is best. You say that were you my God, you would cast me into hell for ever. Now, I am your God – well, I will make you happy with me in Heaven for all eternity, although you have not deserved such a mercy.” At this voice of mercy the dying sinner took the crucifix into his hands, pressed it to his lips, and shed a torrent of tears; he made a general confession with such contrition of heart that even his confessor could not help weeping. After having received the last Sacraments, he continued to shed bitter tears of sorrow and true love for God, and soon after died in this happy state.
How true are those words that the Lord spoke one day to Blessed Henry Suso. “Imagine,” said He to His great servant, “that the whole world was on fire, and then see how quickly a handful of straw cast into it is consumed. But I forgive a repentant sinner a thousand times quicker than a handful of straw can be burned up in the largest fire.”
The book from which these beautiful words come, can be found online here: https://archive.org/stream/theprodigalsonor00mulluoft#page/n7/mode/2up