Evening Meditations for the Second Tuesday after Epiphany ~ Alphonsus Liguori

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Evening Meditation



There are two ways by which the devil endeavours to deceive men to their eternal ruin. After they have committed sin he tempts them to despair on account of the severity of Divine justice; while before they had sinned he encouraged them to do so by the hope of obtaining the Divine mercy. And he effects the ruin of numberless souls as much by the second as by the first artifice. “God is merciful,” says the obstinate sinner to him who would convert him from the iniquity of his ways. “God is merciful.” But as the Mother of God expresses it in her Canticle, His mercy is to them that fear him (Luke i. 50). Yes, the Lord deals mercifully with him who fears to offend Him, but not with the man who presumes upon His mercy to offend Him still more.

O God, I give Thee thanks for having made me sensible of Thy patience in bearing with me. Behold, I am of the number of those who, presuming on Thy goodness, have offended Thee again and again!

God is merciful, — but He is also just! Sinners are desirous that He should be merciful only, without being just; but that is impossible, because were He only to forgive and never to chastise, He would be wanting in justice. Hence Blessed Father Avila observes that patience on the part of God towards those who avail themselves of His compassion to offend Him all the more, would not be mercy but a want of justice. He is bound to chastise the ungrateful. He bears with them for a certain time, but after that abandons them.

Such a punishment, O God, has not as yet overtaken me, or else I had now dwelt in hell, or had been obstinate in my sins. But no: I desire to amend my life; I desire to offend Thee no more. Though I have hitherto displeased Thee, I am sorry for it with my whole soul. I desire henceforth to love Thee, and I desire to love Thee more than others, because Thou hast not shown the same patience towards others as towards me.


God is not mocked (Gal. vi. 7). But He would be mocked if the sinner could go on continually offending Him, and yet afterwards enjoy Him in Heaven. What things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap (Gal. vi. 8). He who sows good works shall reap rewards; but he who sows iniquities shall reap chastisements. The hope of those who commit sin because God is forgiving, is an abomination in His sight. Their hope, says holy Job, is an abomination (Job xi. 20). Hence the sinner, by just such hope, provokes God to chastise him the sooner, as that servant would provoke his master, who, because his master was good, took advantage of his goodness to behave wickedly.

O Jesus, such, I fear, has been my conduct towards Thee. Because Thou wast good I made no account of Thy precepts! I confess that I have done wickedly, and I detest all the offences I have committed against Thee. Now I love Thee more than myself, and I desire never more to displease Thee. Ah, if I should again offend Thee by mortal sin! Permit it not, O Lord, but rather let me die. O Mary, Mother of perseverance, do thou assist me.

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