A Year with the Saints – 29 October

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Though one should fall into many and grievous sins and imperfections, he ought never to despair of his salvation nor lose confidence in God, for the Divine clemency is infinitely greater than human malice. – Saint John Chrysostom

When Saint Bernard was severely ill, he had a rapture in which he seemed to be led to judgment and there tempted to despair by the devil, to whom he gave this answer: “I confess that I do not deserve Paradise for my works, for I know that I am unworthy of so great a good. Nevertheless, my Lord has two claims to it – one, that He is the Son of God, the other, that He died upon the Cross. The first is sufficient for Him, and the other He gives to me. For this reason I have hope.”

Saint Vincent Ferrer was remarkable for his confidence in God, which was strikingly illustrated by the following incident. One day he was informed that a dying man had fallen into despair through considering his great sins, and that he had therefore refused to make his confession. He hastened to his bedside with much hope of winning him over. “My brother,” he said to him, “will you who know that Jesus Christ died for you, despair of His mercy? You would thus grievously slight the great kindness He has shown you.” These words made the sick man very angry, and he answered, “Just for that I mean to be damned – in spite of Christ!” “And in spite of yourself you shall be saved,” replied the Saint. Then, turning to the bystanders, he said: “Let us recite the Rosary to the Blessed Virgin, to obtain from her the conversion of this most obstinate sinner.” The Lord was pleased to show how acceptable to Him was the generous confidence of His servant, for before the Rosary was ended, the room was filled with a brilliant light, and the great Mother of God appeared with the Infant upon her arm all stained with blood. The hardened sinner was moved with love, grief, and compunction at this sight. He made his confession with heartfelt contrition and a little while after, with a look of heavenly joy upon his face, breathed forth his spirit into the hands of God.

Blosius relates of Saint Gertrude that she was one day considering which, of the many things she had learned from the Lord, she might most usefully reveal to men, when she heard His voice in her heart speaking in this manner: “It would be of the greatest use to them to know and remember that I am continually interceding before My Father for their salvation, and that as often as they stain their hearts through human frailty by evil thoughts, I offer to Him in expiation My most pure heart; and when they commit sinful deeds, I offer to Him My pierced hands; and so, however they err, I instantly seek to appease the Divine Father, that they may obtain pardon on their repentance.”

MLA Citation