Tuesday, April 28, 2020

God will turn the chastisement, if we turn from our sins.

St. Alphonsus de Liguori: Nine Discourses for Times of Calamities. Following are excerpts from the Eighth Discourse: “Prayers appease God, and avert from us the chastisement we deserve, provided we purpose to amend.”
Would that our prominent pro-abortion “Catholic” politicians, such as Cuomo, Pelosi and Biden, heed these words of St. Alphonsus! The darkness is upon us, and we see no real end to it, because there is no purpose of amendment, no turning from our nation's sins. One of the prayers taught by the Angel of Fatima is: O my Jesus, it is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Every abortion, every act of fornication, every act of sodomy is a sin against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

St. Alphonsus: “In order to be delivered from the present scourge, and still more from the eternal scourge, we must pray and hope. But it is not sufficient to pray and to hope: we must pray and hope as we ought. No one hath hoped in the Lord, and hath been confounded. [Ecclus. 2:11.] There never has been and never will be found any one to hope in the Lord and be lost, as the prophet assures us: He is the protector of all that trust in Him. But how comes it, then, that some persons ask graces and do not obtain them? St. James answers that it is because they ask ill. You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss. [James 4:3.] You must not only ask and hope, but ask and hope as you ought.

God is appeased by prayers, and led to withdraw the chastisement which we deserve, provided we purpose to amend. How can God think of hearing that sinner who prays to him that he may be freed from his afflictions, whilst he is unwilling to abandon sin, which is the cause of his afflictions? Thus do many act; they beg of God to deliver them from their afflictions; they beg of the servants of God to avert by their prayers the threatened chastisements, but they do not seek to obtain the grace of abandoning their sins and changing their lives. And how can such persons hope to be freed from the chastisement when they will not remove its cause? It is not God, then, who makes us miserable; it is sin. Sin it is which obliges God to create chastisements: Famine, and affliction, and scourges, all things are created for the wicked. [Ecclus. 40: 9.]

But some will say, we make novenas, we fast, we give alms, we pray to God: why are we not heard? How, exclaims the Lord! how can I hear the prayers of those who beg to be freed from their afflictions, and not from their sins, because they do not wish to reform. What care I for their fasts, and their sacrifices, and their alms, when they will not change their lives.

Some say we have our patron or some other saint who will defend us; we have our Mother Mary to procure our deliverance. How can the saints think of assisting us if we persist in exasperating the Lord? St. John Chrysostom says, of what use was Jeremias to the Jews? The Jews had Jeremias to pray for them, but, notwithstanding all the prayers of that holy prophet, they received the chastisement, because they did not wish to give up their sins. Beyond doubt, says the holy Doctor, the prayers of the saints contribute much to obtain the divine mercy for us, but when?—when we do penance. They are useful, but only when we do ourselves violence to abandon sin, to fly occasions, and return to God’s favor.

The emperor Phocas, in order to defend himself from his enemies, raised walls and multiplied fortifications, but he heard a voice saying to him from heaven: “You build walls, but when the enemy is within, the city is easily taken.” We must then expel this enemy, which is sin, from our souls, otherwise God cannot exempt us from chastisement, because he is just, and cannot leave sin unpunished. Another time the citizens of Antioch prayed to Mary to avert from them a scourge which overhung them; and whilst they were praying, St. Bertoldus heard the divine Mother replying from heaven, “Abandon your sins, and I shall be propitious to you.”

St. Augustine says: “He who created you without your help, will not save you without your help.” What do you expect, sinful brother? That God will bring you to Paradise with all your sins upon you? Do you continue to draw down upon you the divine scourges, and yet hope to be delivered from them? Must God save you while you persist in damning yourself? If we purpose truly to turn to God, then let us pray to him and rejoice; even though the sins of the entire world were ours, we should be heard, as I said to you in the beginning. Every one who prays with a purpose of amendment, obtains mercy.”

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Saturday, April 25, 2020

St. Gerard Majella, Companion of St. Alphonsus

St. Gerard was a lay-brother in the Redemptorist Order recently founded by St. Alphonsus. He is the patron saint of mothers, motherhood, expectant mothers, childbirth, children, pregnant women, unborn children, the pro-life movement, the falsely accused, good confessions, and lay brothers.

The following story of Gerard's exemplary life in the Order is from the classic 1700-page biography of St. Alphonsus by Austin Berthe. He died from tuberculosis on October 16, 1755 at 29 years of age.

On October 15, 1755, St. Alphonsus closed the second general chapter of the Redemptorist Order, which he had established in the Kingdom of Naples. On the day following, there died at Caposole the second canonized saint of the Order, the lay-brother Gerard Majella, as if to allow Alphonsus to offer up to God one of the fairest flowers of Paradise which the Rule of the Most Holy Redeemer had brought to perfection in the course of six years.

Gerard had entered the Congregation after the chapter of 1749. This short period had been enough to make of him a great saint. In becoming so he did but order his life at every moment as the constitutions prescribed. In the novitiate at Iliceto he lived as Jesus lived at Nazareth – only for obedience, work, and prayer. “I will have ever before my eyes,” he wrote, “my resolution to observe the Rule minutely and to grow in perfection.” And indeed he did grow in wisdom and grace before God and man. “O will of God,” he would say, “happy is he who knows and loves only Thee!” He used to be called the saint of obedience. In his longing to become a true imitator of his Master, according to the spirit of the Rule, he grew so enamored of Him who was the life of his soul that he could hardly depart from before the altar, and would sometimes go into ecstasy at the bare mention of the name of Jesus.

Saint Gerard Majella Catholic Church (Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia), interior, mosaic depiction.

That he might the better resemble his Crucified Lord, he lived like the poorest of the poor, strove to eat only what others left, slept on the bare floor, and disciplined himself severely. After two years of trial, he was admitted to profession. “Now,” he said, “I am going to live on earth as though I were alone with God.” Like St. Teresa he made the heroic vow of doing always what seemed to him to be most perfect, so that he might say with Jesus at every moment, “I do always the things that please Him.” [John 8:29.]

During the last years of his life God drew Gerard out of his solitude, humble lay-brother though he was. He had his Master's thirst for souls. “Why cannot I convert as many souls as there are stars in the heavens!” he would exclaim. With the gift of zeal he received all other gifts from God – knowledge of the mysteries of faith to such a degree that great theologians were astonished at it, the power of reading the human heart and conscience, and wonder-working powers to such an extent that his life seems a perpetual miracle.

After thus preparing the humble brother for the glorious work of an apostle, God inspired his superiors to send him for three years into the world. Wherever he passed, bishops, parish priests, and confessors, witnessing his virtue and power, employed him in the conversion of the most obstinate sinners. Gerard had but to appear, and hearts melted before him like wax in the sun. Sometimes a sinner would try to conceal his misdeeds, and Gerard, reading his conscience, would enumerate them one after another until the unhappy man would hasten to confession. To one man who had relapsed into a life of wickedness, though he pretended to be reformed, Gerard enumerated his most secret sins, and then pointing to an image of Jesus on the Cross, exclaimed, in burning accents: “Who but you has caused the blood to flow from those wounds?” The same instant blood did flow from the crucifix, and the unhappy sinner burst into tears.

Gerard went about through town and country, healing the sick, helping the poor, driving out devils, and converting sinners. Everywhere the people thronged round the footsteps of the humble brother. His superiors were once obliged to recall him from Naples after a stay there of three months, in order to remove him from the crowds that continually beset him. “A hundred evangelical workers,” said Fathers Cajone and Margotta, who had seen him at work, “would not have been able to win the sinners that Brother Gerard has brought to God.”

Like Jesus, too, Gerard, after working for three years to save poor sinners, had to pass through the Garden of Gethsemane. His ecstasies were followed by an agony of desolation. “God has fled from my soul,” he exclaimed, “I am crucified as far as a man can be, have pity on me!" Then after having plunged him in an abyss of suffering, God sent him the most terrible affliction a saint can endure. A wicked woman accused him of a horrible crime, and so far imposed upon a good priest as to lead him to write a letter to the holy founder representing Gerard as a hypocrite and seducer. Alphonsus in great perturbation sent for the accused, and told him of the charge.

Gerard stood like a statue, without uttering a word. Alphonsus, thinking him guilty, forbade him to receive holy communion, or to have any kind of communication with the outside world. The brother never made the slightest murmur. The fathers, convinced of his innocence, urged him to justify himself. “God will see to that,” he replied. When advised to ask at least for permission to communicate, and so alleviate his sufferings at being deprived of his Lord, he answered: “No; let us die in the wine-press of the will of God.”

Fifty days later God revealed his innocence. The wretched woman who had accused him retracted the calumny, avowing that she had acted under the inspiration of the devil. On being asked by Alphonsus why he had not asserted his innocence, Gerard made the heroic answer: “Father, does not the Rule ordain that we must not excuse ourselves?”
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Gerard lived another year in the practice of the highest virtue. At last, seeing that his end was approaching, he begged as a favor from Our Lord that he might be allowed to share in the sorrows of His Passion. Whereupon he was seized with such agonizing pains that he was forced to cry out: “O Lord, assist me in this Purgatory, I am enduring a true martyrdom.” He said to a father who asked him if he were suffering much: “I am in the wounds of Jesus and His wounds are in me.” On October 15, 1755, he said to the doctor, “I shall die tonight.” Then he recited the Miserere with such love and contrition that all present were moved to tears.

At eight o'clock he repeated: “My God, where art Thou? Show me Thy face.” Two hours later he exclaimed: “Behold the Madonna!” Then he repeated over and over with his eyes fixed on the crucifix and the image of Our Lady; “My God, I wish to die in order to do Thy most holy will.” So, like Jesus, he gave up his soul to his Father in heaven. Thus died at the age of twenty-nine this humble lay-brother, whom the Church has raised to her altars, and through whose resplendent sanctity innumerable miracles for centuries have been revealed.

Gerard was beatified on January 29, 1893 by Pope Leo XIII, and canonized on December 11, 1904 by Pope Saint Pius X. His feast day is October 16th. Prayers and novenas to him for motherhood, expectant mothers, and for many other needs and intercessions are available Here.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2020

When St. Alphonsus rebuked a man during Mass.

When St. Alphonsus rebuked a man during Mass who would not kneel to his God.

An excerpt from one of his biographers:

Alphonsus like all the saints was meek and patient under personal wrong, but he keenly resented an injury inflicted on souls, or an affront offered to God. In this latter case he found it difficult to control his indignation. Father de Robertis who accompanied him during his stay in Naples relates one striking instance of this.

On July 17, 1748, the servant of God was saying mass in the church of the Oratory, when on turning round to give communion he perceived a gentleman in the choir sitting in a lounging attitude with his legs crossed. “Ecce Angus Dei, Behold the Lamb of God,” said the saint fixing his glance on the offender. The man never moved. “Have you lost the use of your limbs,” exclaimed Alphonsus indignantly, “that you will not kneel before your God?”

The individual thus addressed knelt down in confusion, but he expressed his anger by coughing and making a thousand gestures of impatience up to the end of the mass. Alphonsus had not left the altar when the offended worshiper rushed into the sacristy, to demand the name of the insolent priest who had dared to reprove him. Doubtless he took his opponent for a man out of the woods and was anxious to give him a lesson in manners. But when he was told that the celebrant was Alphonsus de Liguori, he retired without waiting for an interview.

Life of St. Alphonus de Liguori, by Austin Berthe, Volume One, p. 335.

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Friday, April 10, 2020

Padre Pio's Great Easter Miracle

Paolina was gravely ill, with relatives and friends preparing for her death, but Padre Pio promised that during his Easter Mass she would rise with Christ.

In the early months of 1925, Paolina Preziosi, a holy woman and a good mother to her five children, fell ill with bronchitis. She was a Third Order Franciscan and well-liked by the people of San Giovanni Rotondo, where she lived. It was said of her that “she had a delicacy of conscience as rare and precious as her surname.”

As Holy Week approached, her condition became grave, and developed into pneumonia, but there was little the attending doctor could do. Difficult days lie ahead for Paolina. Her husband Lorenzo and the children became more and more upset as she grew visibly worse. Some of her friends approached Padre Pio to ask his help. But he replied: “What can I do, I am just a poor sinner”. He added that they must pray and keep on praying, so that the Lord does not take her. Her family, relatives, friends and neighbors did pray, but it seemed that their pleas were not reaching heaven. As her condition became increasingly desperate, the doctor began to fear for her life. Medicines had no effect, and she had almost stopped eating.

On Palm Sunday, her friends once more entreated Padre Pio. They recounted their fears for the fate of her five children if she were taken away from them. But he appeared preoccupied, as if he were not sure that Divine Providence would intervene. It seemed he felt that her destiny was already decided and could not be changed. The friends continued to persist: “Padre, the doctor says there is no hope.” Finally he came back to himself, and looked at them serenely, almost as if he had found a solution. Then he said to them decisively, “Paolina will rise with Jesus. She is such good person that the Lord wants her with Him in heaven, but her children need her. She must keep on praying and not be afraid. Tell her that she will rise again with the Lord.”

The words of Padre Pio assumed a prophetic significance, since he was announcing a miracle to occur at a specific time. “Padre Pio said Paolina will rise with the Lord,” the people repeated all during Holy Week. The news circulated throughout San Giovanni and even to neighboring towns in the province of Puglia, igniting disputes and discussions. The enemies of Padre Pio laughed, and awaited the day when the stupidity of those who believed in him would be confirmed. But others were certain that she would be cured; however, they wondered if the cure would occur at the Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday, or on Sunday.

The evening of Good Friday, the hapless woman continued to beg God to permit her to live for the sake of her children. Then Padre Pio, who was aware of her intense appeals, and was deeply moved, appeared to her in bilocation. “Do not fear,” he told her. “Do not fear, child of God, have faith and hope; at Mass tomorrow, when the church bells sound for Christ's Resurrection, you will be cured.”

The poor woman prayed all night, along with her friends, neighbors and relatives. They had already prepared the coffin, as was the custom in the area, since only a miracle could save her life. There was nothing doctors could do for her, because science was powerless to restore health to someone who was more dead than alive. Padre Pio, however, insisted they must continue praying to the Lord for her cure. But later that night she became comatose, and the Third Order members readied their Franciscan burial shroud, to clad her as soon as she passed.

Early in the morning on Holy Saturday, one of her relatives, with two of Paolina's children, went to the monastery in order to once again plead with Padre Pio, who was their last hope. In the face of their unbridled tears, especially of the little ones, he could not resist their request and he redoubled his prayers. “Heavenly Father, please grant that the Sacrifice of the Mass will renew the life and health of your worthy daughter. In her goodness she is ready to be with You, but permit her to remain here upon the earth for the sake of her five young children.” He embraced the two children who were present, pressing them close to himself. He was heartbroken by their innocent suffering.

In the meantime a note was passed to him, indicating that the parish priest had arrived at the Preziosi home to administer the last rites of the Church. As the morning progressed, he received further updates: she doesn't recognize anybody; she is practically dead.

After hearing confessions, Padre Pio donned his priestly vestments. He approached the altar and began the Easter Mass for Saturday in the monastery church of Our Lady of Grace. All eyes were on him. “He is sorrowful,” some said. “He has been crying,” said others. “I have never seen him so downcast.” But at the Gloria, everyone saw him transfigured, as large tears fell from his eyes. At the same time, the church bells, which had been silent all week, announced the Resurrection of Christ, ringing out their hosannas to the Lord!  Glory to God who has risen!

At the sound of the bells, Paolina Preziosi, as if impelled by a superhuman force, rose up from her bed. She lifted up to God and to Padre Pio prayers of praise and thanksgiving and gratitude. Her fever had disappeared, and her body had returned to life, with a vitality that neither medicine nor science were capable of returning to her. To the astonishment of everyone she was completely well.

People ran outside, shouting “Miracle! Paolina is cured!” The news reverberated everywhere, even reaching those who were at Mass. “The miracle has happened,” they whispered one to another, while tears streamed down their faces. At the termination of the ceremony, so many people pushed into the sacristy to see Padre Pio that the carabinieri had to intervene to curb the enthusiasm of the crowd.

Afterwards, someone remarked to him that perhaps God had wanted this woman to be with Him, but now she has come back to earth. Padre Pio replied: “It is also beautiful to be exiled from Paradise because of love!”

This mother of many children had obtained grace from the Mother of God. Padre Pio had prayed to Jesus and Saint Joseph, but in a special way to the Blessed Virgin. Certainly the phrase written over the entrance to one of the cells of his monastery must have come to his mind: “Mary is the entire reason for my hope.” (Maria e' tutta la ragione della mia speranza.)

This article is based on the original account researched by Alberto Del Fante for his book Per La Storia, with additional information from Padre Pio Il Santo dei Miracoli by Renzo Allegri.

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Thursday, April 9, 2020

“Mother, Behold thy Son.” Meditation by St. Alphonsus

“I behold thee my innocent Mother, enduring also for me so great sufferings; and I see that I, a miserable being, who deserves hell on account of my sins, have not suffered anything for love of thee – I wish to suffer something for thee before I die.”

Jesus, by mouth of the prophet, made lamentation that, when dying on the cross, he went in search of someone to console him, but found none: And I looked for one that would comfort me, and I found none [Ps. 68:21]. The Jews and the Romans, even while he was dying, uttered against him their execrations and blasphemies. The Most Holy Mary – yes she stood beneath the cross, in order to afford him some relief, had it been in her power to do so; but this afflicted and loving Mother, by the sorrow which she suffered through sympathy with his pains, only added to the affliction of this her Son, who loved her so dearly. 

Bartolome Murillo

St. Bernard says that the pains of Mary all went towards increasing the torments of the Heart of Jesus: “The Mother, being filled with it, the ocean of her sorrow poured itself back upon the Son.” So that the Redeemer, in beholding Mary sorrowing thus, felt his soul pierced more by the sorrows of Mary than by his own; as was revealed to St. Bridget by the Blessed Virgin herself: “He, on beholding me, grieved more for me than for himself.” Whence St. Bernard says, “O good Jesus, great as are Thy bodily sufferings, much more dost Thou suffer in Thy Heart through compassion for Thy Mother.”

What pangs, too, must not those loving Hearts of Jesus and Mary have felt when the moment arrived in which the Son, before breathing his last, had to take his leave of the Mother! Behold what the last words were with which Jesus took leave in this world of Mary: “Mother, behold thy son,” assigning to her John, whom, in his own place, he left her for a son. O Queen of Sorrows, things given as memorials by a beloved son at the hour of his death, how very dear they are, and never do they slip away from the memory of a mother! Oh, bear it in mind that thy Son, who loved thee so dearly, has, in the person of John, left me, a sinner, to thee for a son.
Annibale Carracci

For the love which thou didst bear to Jesus, have compassion on me. I ask thee not the good things of earth; I behold thy Son dying in so great pains for me; I behold thee, my innocent Mother, enduring also for me so great sufferings; and I see that I, a miserable being, who deserves hell on account of my sins, have not suffered anything for love of thee – I wish to suffer something for thee before I die. This is the grace that I ask of thee; and with St. Bonaventure, I say to thee, that if I have offended thee, justice requires that I should have suffering as a chastisement; and if I have been serving thee, it is but reasonable that I should have suffering as a reward: “O Lady, if I have offended thee, wound my heart for justice' sake; if I have served thee, I ask thee for wounds as my recompense.”

Obtain for me, O Mary, a great devotion and a continual remembrance of the Passion of thy Son; and, by that pang which thou didst suffer on beholding him breathe his last upon the cross, obtain for me a good death. Come to my assistance, O my Queen, in that last moment; make me die, loving and pronouncing the sacred names of Jesus and Mary. 

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Saturday, April 4, 2020

Discourses for Times of Calamities: St. Alphonsus de Liguori

Excerpts from “God Chastises us in this life for our Good, not for our Destruction.”

Let us then be joyful, my brethren; it is true that God appears to be in wrath, but he is still our Father.  “For Thou art not delighted in our being lost.” [Tob, 3:22.]

Let us feel persuaded, my brethren, that there is no one who loves us more than God. St. Teresa says that God loves us more than we love ourselves. He has loved us from eternity. Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love [Jer. 31:3]. Hence, when God chastises us upon the earth, it is not because he wishes to injure us, but because he wishes us well, and loves us. But of this every one is sure that worshippeth Thee, that his life, if it be under trial, shall be crowned: and if it be under tribulation, shall be delivered [Tob. 3:21]. So spoke Sara the wife of Tobias: Lord, he who serves thee is sure that after the trial shall have passed he shall be crowned, and that after tribulation he shall be spared the punishment which he deserved: For Thou art not delighted in our being lost: because after a storm Thou makest a calm, and after tears and weeping Thou pourest in joyfullness [Tob. 3:22]. After the tempest of chastisement he gives us peace, and after mourning, joy and gladness.

My brethren, let us convince ourselves of what I have undertaken to show you to-day, namely, that God does not afflict us in this life for our injury but for our good, in order that we may cease from sin, and by recovering his grace escape eternal punishment.

And I will give My fear in their heart, that they may not revolt from Me [Jer. 32:40]. The Lord says that he infuses his fear into our hearts, in order that he may enable us to triumph over our passion for earthly pleasures, for which, ungrateful that we are, we have left him. And when sinners have left him, how does he make them look into themselves, and recover his grace? By putting on the appearance of anger, and chastising them in this life: In Thy anger Thou shalt break the people in pieces [Ps. 55:8]. Another version, according to St. Augustine, has: “In thy wrath thou shalt conduct the people.” The saint inquiring, What is the meaning of his conducting the people in his wrath? he then replies: “Thou, O Lord, fillest us with tribulations, in order that, being thus afflicted, we may abandon our sins and return to Thee.”

In their affliction they will rise early to Me [Hos. 6:1]. God says within himself, If I allow those sinners to enjoy their pleasures undisturbed, they will remain in the sleep of sin: they must be afflicted, in order that, recovering from their lethargy, they may return to me. When they shall be in tribulation they will say: Come, let us return to the Lord, for He hath taken us, and He will heal us; He will strike and He will cure us [Hos. 6:2]. What shall become of us, say those sinners, as they enter into themselves, if we do not turn from our evil courses? God will not be appeased, and will with justice continue to punish us: come on, let us retrace our steps; for he will cure us, and if he has afflicted us just now, he will upon our return think of consoling us with his mercy.

Tribulation is for the sinner at once a punishment and a grace, says St. Augustine. It is a punishment inasmuch as it has been drawn down upon him by his sins; but it is a grace, and an important grace, inasmuch as it may ward eternal destruction from him, and is an assurance that God means to deal mercifully with him if he look into himself, and receive with thankfulness that tribulation which has opened his eyes to his miserable condition, and invites him to return to God. Let us then be converted, my brethren, and we shall escape from our several chastisements: “Why should he who accepts chastisement as a grace be afraid after receiving it?” says St. Augustine. He who turns to God, smarting from the scourge, has no longer anything to fear, because God scourges only in order that we may return to him; and this end once obtained, the Lord will scourge us no more.

Be glad, therefore, O sinners! and thank God when he punishes you in this life, and takes vengeance of your sins; because you may know thereby that he means to treat you with mercy in the next. Thou wast a merciful God to them, and taking vengeance on their inventions [Ps. 98:8]. The Lord when he chastises us has not chastisement so much in view as our conversion.

Jonas slept in the ship when he was flying from the Lord; but God seeing that the wretched man was on the brink of temporal and eternal death, caused him to be warned of the tempest: Why art thou fast asleep; rise up, call upon thy God [Jon. 1:6]. God my brethren, now warns ye in like manner. You have been in the state of sin, deprived of sanctifying grace, the chastisement has come, and that chastisement is the voice of God, saying to you, “Why are you fast asleep? rise and call upon your God.” Awake, sinner! do not live on forgetful of your soul and of God. Open your eyes, and see how you stand upon the verge of hell, where so many wretches are now bewailing sins less grievous than yours, and are you asleep? have you no thought of confession? no thought of rescuing yourself from eternal death? 

Rise, call upon your God. Up from that infernal pit into which you have fallen; pray to God to pardon you, beg of him this at least, if you are not at once resolved to change your life, that he will give you light, and make you see the wretched state in which you stand. Learn how to profit by the warning which the Lord vouchsafes you. Jeremias first sees a rod. I see a rod watching [Jer. 1:11]; he next sees a boiling cauldron: I see a boiling cauldron [Jer. 1:13]. St. Ambrose, in speaking of this passage, explains it thus: He who is not corrected by the rod, shall be thrown into the cauldron, there to burn. He whom the temporal chastisement fails to convert, shall be sent to burn eternally in hell-fire. Sinful brother, listen to God, who addresses himself to your heart, by this chastisement, and calls on you to do penance. Tell me what answer do you make him? 

Take courage, say with the prodigal: I will arise and go to my father [Luke 15:18]. I will arise from this sleep of death—this state of damnation, and return to God. It is true that I have sufficiently outraged him by leaving him so much against his desire, but he is still my Father. I will arise and go to my Father. And when you shall go to that Father, what shall you say to him? Say what the prodigal said to his father: Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee; I am not now worthy to be called thy son [Luke 15:21]. Father, I acknowledge my error, I have done ill to leave Thee, who have so much loved me; I see now’ that I am no longer worthy to be called Thy son; receive me at least as Thy servant; restore me at least to Thy grace, and then chastise me as Thou pleasest.

Oh, happy you, if you say and do thus! the same will happen you which befell the prodigal son. The father, when he saw his son retracing his steps, and perceived that he had humbled himself for his fault, not only did not drive him off—not only received him into his house, but embraced and kissed him as his son. And running to him, fell upon his neck and kissed him. He then clothed him with a precious garment, which represents the robe of grace: Bring forth quickly the first robe, and put it on him. And he, moreover, makes a great feast in the house, to commemorate the recovery of his son, whom he looked upon as lost and dead: Let us eat and make merry, because this my son was dead, and is come to life again; was lost, and is found [Luke 15:20-23].

Let us then be joyful, my brethren; it is true that God appears to be in wrath, but he is still our Father; let us retrace our steps in penance, and he will be appeased and spare us. Behold Mary our Mother praying for us on the one hand, and on the other turned towards us, saying, In me is all hope of life and of virtue; . . . come over to me all [Ecclus. 24:25]. My children, that Mother of Mercy says to us, my poor afflicted children, have recourse to me, and in me you shall find all hope; my son denies me nothing. You were dead by sin; come to me, find me, and you shall find life—the life of divine grace, which I shall recover for you by my intercession.

St. Alphonsus de Liguori: Nine Discourses for Times of Calamities.
Above are excerpts from the sixth discourse. 

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