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When Mercy Is a Danger…

In a country with a mentality saturated with Liberalism and Protestantism like ours, it is quite common to hear Catholics say that God always forgives the sinner, no matter what he does and how much he sins. Here are some considerations of St. Alfonsus de Liguori that are meant to give some food for thought for our American Liberal Catholics – or for ourselves insofar as we share that mentality.

St. Alfonsus de Liguori

St. Augustine says that the Devil seduces men in two ways: through despair and hope. After the sinner commits his fault, he drags him into despair through fear of divine justice; but, before sinning, he encourages him to fall into temptation through hope of divine mercy. For this reason the Saint warns us, saying: “After sinning, do not lose hope in divine mercy; before sinning, fear divine justice.”

This is because the one who takes advantage of divine mercy to offend God does not deserve it. Mercy exists for those who fear God, and not for those who sin without fearing Him. “One who offends justice can have recourse to mercy,” says the Abulensis, “but to whom should the one who offends mercy have recourse?”

It is difficult to find a sinner in such a state of despair that he actually wants to be condemned. Sinners want to sin, but without losing hope of salvation. They sin and say: “God is goodness itself. Even if I sin now, later I will confess.” Thus think sinners, and, as St. Augustine says, “thus thought many who are now condemned.” …

“Be careful,” says St. John Chrysostom, “when the Devil (and not God) promises you divine mercy with the purpose of making you sin.” And St. Augustine adds, “Woe to he who trusts in mercy with the aim of sinning! How many this illusion had fooled and led into perdition! Woe to he who abuses the goodness of God to offend Him more!”

Even though God waits patiently for the sinner, He does not wait forever. For if the Lord would always tolerate us, no one would be condemned, but wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to perdition, and there are many who choose it (Matt 7:13).

The trap the Devil sets to seduce almost all Catholics who condemn themselves is this: “Sin freely, because, despite all your sins, you will be saved.” The Lord, however, curses the one who sins hoping forgiveness.

Preparation to Death: Considerations on the Eternal Truths,
Consideration 17, Point 1

Posted July 24, 2010

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