Abuse of God’s Mercy: An Insult To God

merciful-god

On the Abuse of Divine Mercy 
Sermon by St. Alphonsus Liguori
 

In this day’s gospel we read, that a certain man fell into the hands of robbers, who, after having taken his money, wounded him, and left him half dead. A Samaritan who passed by, saw him, and taking pity on him, bound up his wounds, brought him to an inn, and left him to the care of the host, saying: “Take care of him.” These words I this day address to those, if there be any such among you, who, though their souls are wounded by sin, instead of attending to the care of them, continually aggravate the wounds by new sins, and thus abuse the mercy of God, who preserves their lives, that they may repent, and not be lost forever. I say to you: Brethren, take care of your souls, which are in a very bad state; have compassion on them. “Have pity on thy own soul (Eccl. xxx. 24).” Your souls are sick, and what is worse they are near the eternal death of hell; for he who abuses to excess the divine mercy, is on the point of being abandoned by the mercy of God. This shall be the subject of the present discourse. 

St. Augustine says that the devil deludes Christians in two ways “by despair and hope.” After a person has committed sin, the enemy, by placing before his eyes the rigour of divine justice, tempts him to despair of the mercy of God. But, before he sins, the devil by representing to him the divine mercy, labours to make him fearless of the chastisement due to sin. Hence the saint gives the following advice: “After sin, hope for mercy; before sin, fear justice.” If, after sin, you despair of God’s pardon, you offend him by a new and more grievous sin. Have recourse to His mercy, and He will pardon you. But, before sin, fear God’s justice, and trust not to His mercy; for, they who abuse the mercy of God to offend him, do not deserve to be treated with mercy. Abulensis says, that the man who offends justice may have recourse to mercy; but to whom can they have recourse, who offend and provoke mercy against themselves? 

When you intend to commit sin, who, I ask, promises you mercy from God? Certainly God does not promise it. It is the devil that promises it, that you may lose God and be damned. “Beware,” says St. John Chrysostom, “never to attend to that dog that promises thee mercy from God (Hom. 50, ad Pop).”

If, beloved sinners, you have hitherto offended God, hope and tremble: if you desire to give up sin, and if you detest it, hope; because God promises pardon to all who repent of the evil they have done. But if you intend to continue in your sinful course, tremble lest God should wait no longer for you, but cast you into hell.

Why does God wait for sinners? Is it that they may continue to insult Him? No; He waits for them that they may renounce sin, and that thus He may have pity on them, and forgive them. “Therefore the Lord waiteth, that he may have mercy on you.” (Isa. xxx. 1, 8.) But when He sees that the time which he gave them to weep over their past iniquities is spent in multiplying their sins, He begins to inflict chastisement, and He cuts them off in the state of sin, that, by dying, they may cease to offend Him. Then He calls against them the very time He had given them for repentance. “He hath called against me the time (Lam. i. 15).” “The very time,” says St. Gregory, “comes to judge.” 

O common illusion of so many damned Christians! We seldom find a sinner so abandoned to despair as to say: I will damn myself. Christians sin, and endeavour to save their souls. They say: “God is merciful: I will commit this sin, and will afterwards confess it.” Behold the illusion, or rather the snare, by which Satan draws so many souls to hell. “Commit sin,” he says, “and confess it afterwards.” But listen to what the Lord says: “And say not, the mercy of the Lord is great; He will have mercy on the multitude of my sins (Eccl. v. 6.).” Why does He tell you not to say, that the mercy of God is great? Attend to the words contained in the following verse: “For mercy and wrath come quickly from Him, and His wrath looketh upon sinners (Ibid., ver. 7).” The mercy of God is different from the acts of His mercy; the former is infinite, the latter are finite. God is merciful, but He is also just. St. Basil says, that sinners only consider God as merciful and ready to pardon, but not as just and prepared to inflict punishment. Of this the Lord complained one day to St. Bridget: “I am just and merciful: sinners regard Me only as merciful.” St. Basil’s words are: “Bonus est Dominus sed etiam Justus, nolimus Deum ex dimidia parte cogitare.” God is just, and, being just, he must punish the ungrateful. Father John Avila used to say, that to bear with those who avail themselves of the mercy of God to offend Him, would not be mercy, but a want of justice.

Mercy, as the divine mother said, is promised to those who fear, and not to those who insult the Lord. “And His mercy to them that fear Him (Luke i 50).”

Some rash sinners will say: God has hitherto shown me so many mercies; why should He not here after treat me with the same mercy? I answer: He will show you mercy, if you wish to change your life; but if you intend to continue to offend Him, He tells you that He will take vengeance on your sins by casting you into hell. “Revenge is mine, and I will repay them in due time, that their foot may slide (Deut. xxxii. 35).” David says, that “except you be converted,” He will “brandish His sword (Ps. vii. 13).” The Lord has bent His bow, and waits for your conversion; but if you resolve not to return to Him, He will in the end cast the arrow against you, and you shall be damned. O God! there are some who will not believe that there is a hell until they fall into it. Can you, beloved Christians, complain of the mercies of God, after He has shown you so many mercies by waiting for you so long? You ought to remain always prostrate on the earth to thank Him for His mercies, saying: “The mercies of the Lord that we are not consumed (Lamen. iii. 32).” Were the injuries which you offered to God committed against a brother, he would not have borne with you. God has had so much patience with you; and He now calls you again. If, after all this, He shall send you to hell, will He do you any wrong? “What is there,” He will say, “that I ought to do more for my vineyard, that I have not done to it (Isa. v. 4)?” Impious wretch! what more ought I to do for you that I have not done? 

St. Bernard says, that the confidence which sinners have in God’s goodness when they commit sin, procures for them, not a blessing, but a malediction from the Lord. “Est infidelis fiducia solius ubique maledictionis capax, cum videlicet in spe peccamus (Serm, iii., de Annunc).” O deceitful hope, which sends so many Christians to hell! St. Augustine says: “Sperant, ut peccent! Vae perversa spe (In Ps. cxliv).” 

They do not hope for the pardon of the sins of which they repent; but they hope that, though they continue to commit sin, God will have mercy upon them; and thus they make the mercy of God serve as a motive for continuing to offend Him. 

Accursed hope! hope which is an abomination to the Lord! “And their hope the abomination (Job xi. 20).” This hope will make God hasten the execution of His vengeance; for surely a master will not defer the punishment of servants who offend him because he is good. Sinners, as St. Augustine observes, trusting in God’s goodness, insult Him, and say: “God is good; I will do what I please (Tract, xxxiii. in Joan).” But, alas! how many, exclaims the same St. Augustine, has this vain hope deluded! “They who have been deceived by this shadow of vain hope cannot be numbered.” St. Bernard writes, that Lucifer’s chastisement was accelerated, because, in rebellion against God, he hoped that he should not be punished for his rebellion. Ammon, the son of king Manasses, seeing that God had pardoned the sins of his father, gave himself up to a wicked life with the hope of pardon; but, for Ammon there was no mercy. St. John Chrysostom says, that Judas was lost because, trusting in the goodness of Jesus Christ, he betrayed Him. “Fidit in lenitate Magistri.” 

He that sins with, the hope of pardon, saying: “I will afterwards repent, and God will pardon me:” is, according to St. Augustine, “not a penitent, but a scoffer.” The Apostle tells us that “God is not mocked (Gal. vi. 7).” 

It would be a mockery of God to offend Him as often and as long as you please, and always to receive the pardon of your offences. 

“For what things a man shall sow,” says St. Paul, “those also shall he reap (Ibid., ver. 8).” They who sow sins, can hope for nothing but the hatred of God and hell. “Despisest thou the riches of His goodness, and patience, and long-suffering (Rom. ii. 4).” Do you, O sinner, despise the riches of the goodness, of the patience, and long-suffering of God towards you? He uses the word riches, because the mercies which God shows us, in not punishing our sins, are riches more valuable to us than all treasures. “Knowest thou not,” continues the Apostle, “that the benignity of God leadeth thee to penance (Ibid)?” 

Do you not know that the Lord waits for you, and treats you with so much benignity, not that you may continue to sin, but that you may weep over the offences you have offered to Him?

For, says St. Paul, if you persevere in sin and do not repent, your obstinacy and impenitence shall accumulate a treasure of wrath against the day of wrath, that is, the day on which God shall judge you. “According to thy hardness and impenitent heart, thou treasurest up wrath, against the day of wrath, and revelation of the just judgment of God (Ibid., verse 5).” 

To the hardness of the sinner shall succeed his abandonment by God, Who shall say of the soul that is obstinate in sin, what he said of Babylon: “We would have cured Babylon; but she is not healed; let us forsake her (Jer. li. 9).” 

And how does God abandon the sinner? He either sends him a sudden death, and cuts him off in sin, or He deprives him of the graces which would be necessary to bring him to true repentance; He leaves him with the sufficient graces with which he can, but will not, save his soul. The darkness of his understanding, the hardness of his heart, and the bad habits which he has contracted, will render his conversion morally impossible. Thus, he shall not be absolutely but morally abandoned.

“I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be wasted (Isa. v. 5).” When the master of the vineyard destroys its hedges, does he not show that he abandons it? It is thus that God acts when He abandons a soul. He takes away the hedge of holy fear and remorse of conscience, and leaves the soul in darkness, and then vices crowd into the heart. “Thou hast appointed darkness, and it is night: in it shall all the beasts of the wood go about (Ps. ciii. 20).” 

And the sinner, abandoned in an abyss of sins, will despise admonitions, excommunications, divine grace, chastisement, and hell: he will make a jest of his own damnation. “The wicked man, when he is come into the depth of sin, contemneth (Prov. xviii. 3).”

Why,” asks the Prophet Jeremias, “doth the way of the wicked prosper (Jer. xii. 1)?” He answers: “Gather them together as sheep for a sacrifice (v. 3).” Miserable the sinner who is prosperous in this life! 

The prosperity of sinners is a sign that God wishes to give them a temporal reward for some works which are morally good, but that He reserves them as victims of His justice for hell, where, like the accursed cockle, they shall be cast to burn for all eternity.
“In the time of the harvest, I will say to the reapers: Gather up the first cockle, and bind it in bundles to burn (Matt. xiii. 30).” 

Thus, not to be punished in this life is the greatest of God’s chastisements on the wicked, and has been threatened against the obstinate sinner by the Prophet Isaias. “Let us have pity on the wicked, but he will not learn justice (Isa. xxvi. 10).” On this passage St. Bernard says: This mercy I do not wish for: it is above all wrath. “Misericordiam hanc nolo; super oimiem iram misericordia ista (Serm, xlii., in Cant).” 

And what greater chastisement than to be abandoned into the Lands of sin, so that, being permitted by God to fall from sin to sin, the sinner must in the end go to suffer as many hells as he has committed sins?”

Add thou iniquity upon their iniquity. . . . let them be “blotted out of the book of the living (Ps. lxviii. 28, 29).” On these words Bellarmine writes: “There is no punishment greater than when sin is the punishment of sin.” It would be better for such a sinner to die after the first sin; because by dying under the load of so many additional iniquities, he shall suffer as many hells as he has committed sins. This is what happened to a certain comedian in Palermo, whose name was Caesar. He one day told a friend that Father La Nusa, a missionary, foretold him that God should give him twelve years to live, and that if within that time he did not change his life, he should die a bad death. Now, said he to his friend, I have travelled through so many parts of the world: I have had many attacks of sickness, one of which nearly brought me to the grave; but in this month the twelve years shall be completed, and I feel myself in better health than in any of the past years. He then invited his friend to listen to a new comedy which he had composed. But, what happened? On the 24th November, 1688, the day fixed for the comedy, as he was going on the stage, he was seized with apoplexy, and died suddenly. He expired in the arms of a female comedian. Thus the scene of this world ended miserably for him. 

Let us make the application to ourselves, and conclude the discourse. Brethren, I entreat you to give a glance at all the bygone years of your life: look at the grievous offences you have committed against God, and at the great mercies which He has shown to you, the many lights He has bestowed upon you, and the many times He has called you to a change of life. 

By this sermon he has today given you a new call. He appears to me to say to you: “What is there that I ought to do to my vineyard, that I have not done to it (Isa. v. 4)?” What more ought I to do for you that I have not done? What do you say? What answer have you to make? Will you give yourselves to God, or will you continue to offend Him?

Consider, says St. Augustine, that the punishment of your sins has been deferred, not remitted; “unfruitful tree! The axe has been deferred. Be not secure: you shall be cut off.” If you abuse the divine mercy, you shall be cut off; vengeance shall soon fall upon you. What do you wait for? Do you wait till God sends you to hell? The Lord has been hitherto silent; but He is not silent forever. When the time of vengeance shall arrive He will say: “These things hast thou done, and I was silent. Thou thoughtest unjustly that I should be like to thee: but I will reprove thee, and set before thy face (Ps. xlix. 21).” He will set before your eyes the graces which he bestowed upon you, and which you have despised: these very graces shall judge and condemn you. 

Brethren, resist no longer the calls of God; tremble lest the call which He gives you today may be the last call for you. Go to confession as soon as possible, and make a firm resolution to change your lives. It is useless to confess your sins, if you afterwards return to your former vices. 

But you will perhaps say that you have not strength to resist the temptations by which you are assailed. Listen to the words of the Apostle: “God is faithful, Who will not permit you to be tempted above that which you are able (1 Cor. x. 13).” God is faithful: He will not permit you to be tempted above your strength. And if of yourself you have not strength to overcome the devil, ask it from God, and He will give it to you. “Ask, and you shall receive (John xvi. 24).” “Praising,” said David, “I will call on the Lord, and I shall be saved from my enemies (Ps. xvii. 4).” And St. Paul said: “I can do all things in Him Who strengthened me (Phil. iv. 13).” Of myself I can do nothing; but with the divine assistance I can do all things. Recommend yourselves to God in all temptations, and God will enable you to resist them, and you shall not fall. 

Comment:

The Pope has spread abroad belief in a false mercy, one which – according to St Alphonsus – might take souls to Hell. 

Is the optimistic reliance on this false mercy, this failure to understand that unrepentant sin will take souls to Hell, one of the reasons for the growing number of blatant scandals we are witnessing today; double-living clergy, laity living in manifest public sin receiving Holy Communion and such like? Share your thoughts… 

64 responses

  1. I think that part of the problem is that people today do not really believe there is a hell. It does not sit well with the idea of an all loving all merciful God that He could condemn even the greatest sinner to eternal torment. I cannot remember the last time I heard even a mention of hell in a sermon, probably from the fire and brimstone mission giving Redemptorists in my youth! Now hell is deeply unfashionable or even politically incorrect. It is much more consoling to believe in Divine forgiveness than true repentance and firm purpose of amendment. Pope Francis is failing as a teacher of the faith as he does not give equal weight to God’s justice as His mercy. I love the words of the hymn: “God of mercy and compassion.” There we find in a nutshell true mercy dependent on true repentance.

    • Elizabeth,

      Agree 100% – I can’t remember the last time I heard hell mentioned in a sermon either.

      You are right about the stress on mercy being a result of the loss of belief in hell but isn’t it scary to think that the pope himself maybe doesn’t rate hell?

    • “I think that part of the problem is that people today do not really believe there is a hell. It does not sit well with the idea of an all loving all merciful God that He could condemn even the greatest sinner to eternal torment”.
      This is it; you got it right Elisabeth.
      You have perfectly identified the key to the problem!

    • Elizabeth,

      As others have already said, you have hit the nail on the head. Do away with Hell and all is well (so to – poetically – speak!)

      “I love the words of the hymn: “God of mercy and compassion.” There we find in a nutshell true mercy dependent on true repentance.”

      Me, too! That’s a lovely hymn, which, as you said, presents, in a nutshell, the true mercy of God which depends on our true repentance.

      Well said.

  2. Of course a morally-rotten clergy will seek to excuse the laxity of lay Catholics in order to offer them a perverted kind of justice for the continued practice of filth of its own life.

    Our Church is in the hands of an extremely powerful sodomitical cabal. I think myself that this is the long and the short of it.

    • Benedict Carter,

      I came across a YouTube video a couple of weeks ago which proposed that the real reason Benedict resigned was because of what was in the dossier on said cabal.

      I doubt we’ll ever know the truth about that, but, having re-entered the Church through a Novus Ordo parish with a discreetly homosexual PP whose “homilies” were typically about “love,” but even occasionally about his approval of women’s ordination, I’d say “mercy” is the doorway promoted by this cabal, as well as by others, to a doctrine-free “church.”

      And a doctrine-free church is, of course, the doorway to the submersion of the Church into a One World Religion.

  3. I don’t think we should only talk about the clergy as if they’re all bad. There are many very good priests who are striving to live as priests should.

    The St Alphonsus sermon is very powerful. This is especially powerful: Brethren, resist no longer the calls of God; tremble lest the call which He gives you today may be the last call for you.

    • Lionel,

      Most of the Authorities believe in Mercy, however, they forget Justice…

      Excellent – Exactly so!

      Here, in these dark and ominous times, Our Lord gives this wonderful promise to those who, despite all, persevere in His Truth…..

      Douay Rheims Apoc. 3.10

      Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I will also keep thee from the hour of the temptation, which shall come upon the whole world to try them that dwell upon the earth.

      Memento Mori….. Gods Justice awaits.

    • Lionel,

      The only time we hear about justice these days is about doing away with human poverty and injustice to the poor etc. We never hear about God’s justice.

  4. All very interesting comments so far on this thread. I thought this (one of many sobering lines) makes very good material for meditation: “Thus, not to be punished in this life is the greatest of God’s chastisements on the wicked…”

    • Editor,

      “Thus, not to be punished in this life is the greatest of God’s chastisements on the wicked”…

      That is a sobering thought and indeed worthy of meditation. Saint Leonard of Port Maurice in his sermon, gives a timely reminder to about hell.

      https://www.olrl.org/snt_docs/fewness.shtml

      Like Elizabeth and others on this thread I too, cannot remember when hell was last mentioned in a sermon. How often is the Sacrament of Penance mentioned either? A sobering thought, hell for eternity.

      • Theresa Rose

        I’ve also read that sermon lots of time by Saint Leonard of Port Maurice but it never fails to hit home. When you think that Jesus spoke more about Hell than about Heaven, too, that is some thought.

      • MM,

        I suspect that may have been the point of the picture – don’t know its origin but possibly a way of communicating a message about hunger in the world.

    • Dear Madame Editor,

      St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori also recommends frequent confession (he writes at least once a week) to overcome bad habits. I know from personal experience that frequent confession is beneficial to helping me overcome my “habitual” sins.

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that he is addressing the people who put off confession for no reason, as well as those who go once or twice a year (Xmas and Easter).

      I love St. Alphonsus. His advice helped me to overcome my scrupulosity (which occasionally comes back like a bad cold). Also, a SSPX priest told me that I should not use an examination of conscience before confession but to pray to the Holy Ghost. The only time I do it is on retreat.

      I did share your post because many people presume on the Mercy of God. St. Bernard once wrote (may be forgive me if I don’t get this right): “God has, so to speak, two feet: one of Justice, the other of Mercy. We must embrace both…”.

      It’s 10:42 pm now and I have to turn in soon. Thank you for all you do for the Church.

      In Christ the King,

      Margaret

  5. That sermon on the fewness of souls saved is chilling every time I read it. It’s been posted on this blog lots of times and it really is an important meditation. I agree with you.

    I don’t know why priests are afraid to preach like St Alphonsus and St Leonard these days, but I think it must be, in some cases anyway, because they don’t believe in Hell themselves

  6. I think it is very interesting that the crisis in the Church, aka the Vatican II revolution, has been book-ended by false notions of mercy. John XXIII got the beach ball rolling with his opening speech to the Council:

    “…often errors vanish as quickly as they arise, like fog before the sun. The Church has always opposed these errors. Frequently she has condemned them with the greatest severity. Nowadays however, the Spouse of Christ prefers to make use of the medicine of mercy rather than that of severity. She consider that she meets the needs of the present day by demonstrating the validity of her teaching rather than by condemnations.”

    It’s also a bit startling to re-read his entire speech, and to realize, in addition to the falsehood of implying that a condemnation of error is not merciful, how many completely absurd and contradictory statements the Pope made in this speech: http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/teach/v2open.htm

    On the concluding end of the bookshelf, we have Francis, who has taken John XXIII’s falsehood to its logical conclusion: a completely sentimentalized, emotionalized, naturalized version of mercy that enshrines gradualism and situation ethics, and obliterates the Sacred Deposit of Faith. (I’m making the assumption that this disastrous papacy marks the final phase of the crisis). Francis, like John before him, not only acts as though the condemnation of error is a personal affront to the person committing the error – he acts as though there is no such thing as error! The “smell of the sheep” is apparently exhilarating to him….

    This naturalized disorientation is nothing but amnesia: forgetting (? or deliberately obscuring) that the Church has always distinguished between the sin and the sinner. The condemnation is directed to the former, not the latter – in order to save the soul of the latter!

    I wonder if it could also be said that it was the Church, or rather, her embedded enemies, which provided the prototype of political correctness. For example, error must no longer be condemned because it is hurtful to the person in question. How about that for the foundation of the LGBTUVWXYZ juggernaut? And for an even bigger example, the current mainstream liturgy of the Church was created specifically to avoid “offending” heretics!

    • RCA Victor,

      “How about that for the foundation of the LGBTUVWXYZ juggernaut?”

      One of the bloggers ( I think FOOF) callw them the “Alphabet community” – hilarious!

      As for this being the “final phase” of the crisis – didn’t I read somewhere that it is likely that we will suffer one more bad pope before the re-establishment of the Faith and re-orientation of both Church and world? Even so, I’m inclined to think that will be like a snapshot now – this pope go and another very short pontificate – who knows, all before 13th May?!

      • Editor,

        I didn’t know that about one more bad pope – you mean there’s another Francis waiting in the wings? God help us…

        • Margaret USA,

          Thank you for that alert. I searched until I found the reference to the SSPX in schism – to reach it, click “Dissent” on their sidebar which leads to a table of “dissenting organisations” – priceless!

          That, alone, identifies the site as doing the very opposite of its stated aim, to provide authentic Catholic teaching in the face of the crisis in the Church. If they can’t even distinguish true from false obedience, and a schism from a faithful resistance (as in Galatians 2:11), then they’re anything but sound themselves and in no position to lecture others.

          RCA Victor, however, only provided a link to their page containing the opening speech of Pope John XXIII at Vatican II – chances are he Googled for that opening speech and took the first link he found. I don’t think he was recommending the site itself. He knows better than to risk the rolling pin! You think I’m kidding?

    • RCA Victor,

      I wonder if it could also be said that it was the Church, or rather, her embedded enemies, which provided the prototype of political correctness. For example, error must no longer be condemned because it is hurtful to the person in question. – I had not thought of that but it is very interesting. After all the Church does comprise a billion people all over the globe, and these embedded enemies are patient.

      the LGBTUVWXYZ juggernaut 😆 On a serious note, how does one deal with that juggernaut? Can’t very well refuse to engage with their members, they are everywhere.

      • Jobstears,

        I think there are two ways of dealing with it: internally and externally. Internally, by our Rosaries, prayers and penances; externally, (a) by our support for those individuals and entities who are resisting publicly, and (b) by affirming truth with charity, if we happen to find ourselves in personal encounters with these people (in which case, be prepared to be reviled, because they hate the truth).

        • RCA Victor,

          True! I’m OK with the praying part. 🙂 In personal encounters, so far, maintaining a civil and professional relationship has been the extent of my charity! But then again, nobody has solicited my views.

  7. That really is a wonderful sermon of St Alphonsus. He touches on something that fascinates me, the idea that God “waits” for sinners – “He waits for them that they may renounce sin, and that thus He may have pity on them, and forgive them. “Therefore the Lord waiteth, that he may have mercy on you.” (Isa. xxx. 1, 8.)

    One thing is really puzzling, though – how, since God knows everything and must know that the sinner won’t repent, does he still “wait”?

    I know the answer will be to do with our free will but it is still puzzling, if God knows everything (which he does – I’m not doubting that, just pointing out a real puzzle, to me, anyway)

    • Michaela,

      That’s an important question. I can’t pretend to know the answer but I’m assuming that God waits so as to give a sinning soul every chance of turning away from sin and repenting and so be saved.

      However, if it is the case the souls are predestined to be saved or lost, then it really is a difficult circle to square. I know the Catholic Church’s teaching on predestination is diifferent from the Protestant one, but the bottom line is that God knows who is to be saved, so it is a puzzle, as you say, why he “waits”, as St Alphonsus put it.

      • Michaela & NIcky,

        Not a difficult circle to square, really. It’s because people tend to confuse pre-destination with fatalism or determinism, that the circle seems difficult to square!

        Something “pre-determined” or “inevitable” means that there is nothing anyone can do about it. So, if God had determined that a soul is going to Hell, that person could do nothing about it. Why don’t I just eat, drink and be merry while I can, would go through the mind!

        Because God DOES have foreknowledge of everything, doesn’t mean that he has decided ahead of eternity, that we are saved or damned.

        He knows what we will be tempted to do, and how we will exercise our free will, but He also knows the graces available to us and so, clearly, there is nothing inevitable about our eternal destiny. God has made us for Himself, and so we know that we are, in fact, pre-destined for Heaven. However, we also know that God will not force us to accept Heaven. On the other hand, nobody is pre-destined to go to Hell, that’s the difference.

        I once heard a lecture by a priest who quoted a book he’d read on the subject, and he said the only way he could understand the dogma of predestination was to think that when He watches the determined sinner, the reprobate with bells on (my words, not his!) it’s as if God is waiting with bated breath for him to change his mind and turn away from sin… God doesn’t want even the worst sinner to end up in Hell and so provides sufficient grace for us all, in every circumstance, to resist temptation and repent of our sins.

        Obviously, it’s not high flown theology but he was speaking to simple gals like moi, so I throw it out here in case it helps to clarify the teaching of the Church about pre-destination and free will.

        All cheques to be made out to the Editor’s New Outfit & Hairdo Fund…

    • Michaela,

      I know what you mean about God knowing everything and yet waiting. That an Omniscient God should wait for sinful man is fascinating and very moving, I think. Maybe it’s a means of stirring man to respond to God? A reminder too, that God gives, but man must open his hand?

      • Jobstears,

        Well said.

        And guess what? On this very day I have received an order for a ticket for our Conference from one of your countrymen – nope, not RCA Victor (would I be excited about his ticket order? He whose only interest in the place is the current statistics on the population of Glasgow? Puleeeeese!)

        Now, if A.N. Other can come over to spend time with us and come to our Conference, why not your lovely self?

        I can supply links to the best (i.e. least expensive!) hotels in the city. Chop chop!

        • Editor,

          If only! I’m afraid I can only afford one trip this year, and that will be to an Ignatian retreat this summer, where, seeking to broaden my horizons, I will be doing extensive research on the population of all the major urban centers in Scotland. During my free time, of course…

          • Well, if you came to Glasgow in May, you could spend time researching at the famous Mitchell Library. Here’s what the blurb says on their website…

            “The Mitchell Library is one of Europe’s largest public libraries with over one million items of stock and is the hub of a city-wide information service. With its distinctive green dome, the building has been one of the city’s iconic landmarks since it opened in 1911 and is also home to The Mitchell Theatre, an exhibition hall and the Herald Café Bar.”

            I could wait in the Cafe bar! That’s my sort of scene – you can spend YOUR time among the books!

            I finish as I began…

            Well????? 😀

              • RCA Victor,

                Trust me, a bit of haggis is infinitely preferable to an Ignatian retreat. Who knows, you might end up committing yourself to a whole new lifestyle that involves early rising, prayer and spiritual reading. YOU can’t do that… What’s a bit of haggis when you get right down to it….

                No, don’t! Say nothing!

                • Editor,

                  How about this for a segue back to the topic: I think haggis is an abuse of God’s mercy!

                  • RCA Victor,

                    I bet you found that in here…

                    However, in an attempt to seriously return to topic, I must say this part of the sermon always hits home with me, and when I’ve quoted it to others (lapsed), it seems to hit home with them, as well…

                    “We seldom find a sinner so abandoned to despair as to say: I will damn myself. Christians sin, and endeavour to save their souls. They say: “God is merciful: I will commit this sin, and will afterwards confess it.” Behold the illusion, or rather the snare, by which Satan draws so many souls to hell…”

                    WOW! Beat that!

        • Editor,

          I’m waiting for St. Joseph to come through!!! As soon as he does, I’ll be there! And NOT, I assure you, to research the population of Glasgow 😆

          May is still a few months off……

          • WOW! The cynics might wonder about the exodus from the USA to Scotland so soon after Donald Trump becomes President!

            Remember, his mother was Scots, so the cynics might think you’re all coming over here to take your revenge! 😀

            I’ll be having a word with St Joseph – it would be fantastic if you could make it for the Conference.

  8. I think the answer is that time is linear for us – it isn’t for God. He knows what our decisions will be (have been), not because they are predestined, but because He is not restricted in time, and He sees that we have already made our decisions – ie either accepted His grace, or refused it. God can see from the beginning of time to the end of it, unlike us, so although He may know that we will refuse His grace, He still offers it.

    Badly expressed I’m afraid, but I hope you get the gist.

  9. to bear with those who avail themselves of the mercy of God to offend Him, would not be mercy, but a want of justice “ . Just one of the gems in the sermon!

    I wish this would suffice to disillusion folks I know, who believe Divine Mercy Sunday is the equivalent to “hitting the delete button” and going on.

  10. LifeSite News is reporting that three Eastern European prelates – Archbishop Tomash Peta, Archbishop Jan Pawel Lenga, and Bishop Athanasius Schneider – have issued an appeal calling on faithful Catholics to join them in a “spiritual crusade,” praying:

    “That Pope Francis may confirm the unchanging praxis of the Church with regard to the truth of the indissolubility of marriage.”

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-three-bishops-urge-francis-to-rebuke-pastoral-guidelines-allowing

  11. Editor,

    Abuse of God’s Mercy: An insult To God

    MALTESE BISHOP THREATENS PRIESTS
    WILL BE SUSPENDED A DIVINIS FOR REFUSING
    COMMUNION TO DIVORCED/REMARRIED

    Absolutely shocking! Can it actually be that in this case, a Catholic Bishop would take such an action? Then again perhaps the question is moot since The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind, “Thou art a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” (Psalm 110:4)

    It’s too deep for me………but it seems like It could soon be unlawful for Priests to defend GOD’S LAW by protecting Our Lord and their flocks and from mortal sin. I’ve often wondered what depth of suffering would cause Our Lord to sweat His Precious Blood – now I’m beginning to understand.

    https://www.ewtn.co.uk/news/commonwealth/maltese-bishop-threatens-priests-will-be-suspended-a-divinis-for-refusing-communion-to-divorced-remarried

    • Gerontius,.

      That is one of the clearest yet signs of diabolical disorientation foretold at Fatima. The priests who SHOULD be suspended are not, sometimes even promoted, while the faithful priests are threatened with suspension.

      Speaking of Fatima, here’s a little surprising good news. Cardinal Nichols to consecrate England and Wales to Our Lady of Fatima

      The bad new is that, unfortunately, Cardinal Nichols is acting in league with the World Apostolate of Fatima – a dodgy anti-Fatima group which we have discussed on this blog – here

      • Editor,

        Regarding the honey coated cyanide of Amoris Laetitia, both the Maltese bishops and Tim Staples, the “Director of Apologetics and Evangelization” for Catholic Answers get a superb demolition job from the excellent Christopher Ferrara. See link below

        http://remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php/articles/item/2994-stan-gets-stapled-is-catholic-answers-becoming-protestant-answers

        Cardinal Nichols to consecrate England and Wales to Our Lady of Fatima. I wrote to the Scottish Bishop’s requesting same for us, but so far…………..

      • Editor,

        Coincidently, This arrived via Email this morning. Note 1960… ring any bells?

        The Hour of the Justice of God is Close!
        Listen, those who have ears to hear!

        The headline for today’s article is taken from a prophetic warning received by Blessed Sr. Elena Aiello on 22nd August, 1960. Blessed Elena was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in September 2011. Given the present diabolical revolution searing through the Church, the proximity of her beatification and the tragedies unfolding in Italy, we believe that Blessed Elena’s reported visions and prophecies, which warn of a coming chastisement from God, should warrant our serious attention.

        Blessed Elena testified that the holy Madonna had said to her: ”The hour of the justice of God is close, and will be terrible! Tremendous scourges are impending over the world, and various nations are struck by epidemics, famines, great earthquakes, terrific hurricanes, with overflowing rivers and seas, which bring ruin and death… If the people do not recognize in these scourges the warnings of Divine Mercy, and do not return to God with truly Christian living, another terrible war will come from the east to the west. Russia with her secret armies will battle America: will overrun Europe. The river Rhine will be overflowing with corpses and blood. Italy, also, will be harassed by a great revolution, and the Pope will suffer terribly… Spread the devotion to my Immaculate Heart, in order that many souls may be conquered by my love and that many sinners may return to my Maternal Heart. Do not fear, for I will accompany with my maternal protection my faithful ones, and all those who accept my urgent warnings, and they – especially by the recitations of my Rosary – will be saved… Satan goes furiously through this disordered world, and soon will show all his might. But, because of my Immaculate Heart, the triumph of Light will not delay in its triumph over the power of darkness, and the world, finally, will have tranquility and peace.”

        http://www.torchofthefaith.com/news.php

  12. Extract from today’s Rorate

    URGENT – Bergoglian Persecution Begins: Priest is Suspended a divinis in Colombia for criticizing the new papal doctrine on Marriage and the Eucharist

    We will translate the whole document provided by Rorate’s Spanish-language partners “Adelante la Fe” as soon as possible — but the news is explosive. A priest in the Diocese of Pereira, Colombia, was admonished and suspended by his Bishop exclusively because he criticized in public the new doctrine invented by Pope Francis on Marriage and the reception of the Blessed Sacrament.

    Father Luis Alberto Uribe Medina is the victim of this startling act by his bishop, Rigoberto Corredor. Just to be clear: the “doctrine” the suspended priest criticized was the “new doctrine” for Communion for adulterers “allowed” by Amoris Laetitia, as represented in the audio of one of his sermons embedded in Adelante la Fe.]
    Full document in our own translation below:

    http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2017/01/urgent-bergoglian-doctrine-persecution.html

  13. Latest from The Remnant – Dale Alquist is off my list of Catholics who know what they’re talking about…

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