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separated from thee, and then do with me whatever else thou pleasest. Holy Mary, advocate of sinners, never cease to protect me.
On the sentence of the Elect.
I. "COME, ye blessed of my Father." Such will be the glorious sentence which in the day of triumph will be pronounced in favour of those who shall have loved God. St. Francis of Assissium, having had it revealed to him that he was one of the predestinate, almost died of the consolation which such a revelation afforded him; what then will be the joy of the elect when they shall hear Jesus Christ inviting them: Come, ye blessed children, come and possess the inheritance of your divine Father, come and reign with him for ever in heaven! How often, O God, have I through my own fault forfeited thy blessed kingdom: but, Ó Jesus, thy precious merits encourage me to hope that I shall regain it. My dear Redeemer, I trust in thee and love thee.
II. O how will the blessed congratulate one another, when they shall behold themselves placed upon thrones and united in the enjoyment of God for all eternity, without the least fear of ever being again separated from him! What joy and glory will be theirs to enter on that day crowned into heaven, singing together songs of gladness and the sweet praises of God. Happy souls, that are destined to such a blessed lot! O God of my soul, bind me to thee with the sweet bonds of thy holy love, that in that day I may enter into thy kingdom
and praise and love thee for ever. "the Lord I will sing for ever."
"The mercies of
III. Let us arouse our slumbering faith. It is certain that we shall one day be judged, and that we shall receive sentence either of eternal life or of eternal death. If we be not now secure of obtaining the sentence of life, let us endeavour to make it certain. Let us fly from all those occasions which might expose us to the loss of our souls; and unite ourselves to Jesus Christ by frequently approaching the sacraments, by pious meditations, by spiritual reading and continual prayer. The adoption or neglect of these means will be the sign of our salvation or of our perdition. My beloved Jesus, and my Judge, I hope through thy precious blood that thou wilt on that day bless me; and hence do thou bless me now and pardon me all the offences I have committed against thee. Grant me to hear the same consoling words which thou didst address to Magdalen: "Thy sins are forgiven thee." I am sorry with my whole heart for having offended thee: pardon me, and at the same time give me grace always to love thee. I love thee, my sovereign good; I love thee more than myself, my treasure, my love, my all. Thou art the God of my heart, and my portion for ever. O my God, thee only do I desire. Holy Mary, by your powerful intercession you can procure my salvation, and you desire it; in you do I confide.
On dishonouring God by sin.
I. BY transgression of the law thou dishonourest God. Rom. ii. 23. Take notice, sinner, what the
Apostle says, and consider what thou dost when thou breakest the divine law; thou dishonourest God. Yes, the sinner dishonours God, when he loses all respect for him before his face, and declares by his actions that it is not a great evil to disobey God and to make no account of his law. Behold, O God, prostrate at thy feet an ungrateful sinner, who after having been so loved and favoured by thee has many times dishonoured thee by breaking thy precepts. I have deserved a thousand hells, but remember that thou didst die in order to save me from hell.
II. The sinner dishonours God, by preferring a miserable gratification, a wretched worldly gain or a mere caprice before the grace of God: for by giving his consent to sin, he declares that such things are more precious to him than the friendship of God. Thus is God dishonoured and affronted by the sinner, who by his actions pronounces him to be viler than some wretched gratification; for which he turns his back upon him. O my God, thou art an infinite good; and how could I, a miserable worm, prefer any corrupt inclinations and passions before thee? If I did not know that thou hast promised pardon to those who repent, I should not dare to crave thy mercy. I am sorry, O infinite goodness, for having offended thee.
III. God is our last end, for he has created us to serve and love him in this world, that we may be happy with him for ever in the next. But when man prefers a vile pleasure to divine grace, he makes his pleasure his last end, he makes it his God. What a dishonour must it be to God, who is infinite good, to see himself exchanged for something so vile and wretched! My beloved Redeemer, I have offended thee; but thou wouldst not have me despair of thy mercy: although thou knowest my ingratitude, yet dost thou love me and desire
my salvation. I am sensible of the evil I have done by offending thee, and I am sorry for it with my whole heart. I am resolved rather to die than again incur thy displeasure. I fear my own weakness, but I hope in thy goodness, that thou wilt enable me to be faithful to thee till death. O Jesus, thou art my hope and my love. Holy Mary, intercede for me that I may obtain salvation.
On the joy of Jesus Christ at finding the lost sheep.
I. OUR Blessed Saviour says of himself in St. Luke, (chap. xv.) that he is the affectionate shepherd, who having lost one of his hundred sheep, leaves the ninety-nine in the desert, and goes in search of the one that is lost; and finding it receives it with joy, takes it on his shoulders, and returning home calls together his neighbours to rejoice with him, saying; "rejoice with me, because "I have found my sheep that was lost." O divine shepherd! I have been that lost sheep, but thou hast sought me until, as I hope, thou hast found me. Thou hast found me and I have found thee. How shall I ever again stray away from thee, my beloved Lord? And yet such a misfortune may happen to me. O permit it not, never suffer me, O Jesus, to leave thee and to lose thee again.
II. But why, O Jesus, dost thou call together thy friends to rejoice with thee for having found the lost sheep? Shouldst thou not rather bid them rejoice with the lost sheep, for its having again found thee, its God? But so great is thy love for my poor soul, that thou esteemest it thy happiness to have found it! My dearest Redeemer, since thou
hast found me, bind me to thee with the blessed bonds of thy holy love, that I may always love thee and may never more depart from thee.
III. God, says the prophet, no sooner hears the voice of the penitent sinner crying to him for mercy, than he immediately answers and forgives him: At the voice of thy cry, as soon as he shall hear, he will answer thee. Isa. xxx. 19. Behold me then at thy sacred feet, O God, grieved from the bottoin of my heart for having so often offended thee, and craving thy compassion and pardon. I can no longer endure to behold myself at a distance from thee and deprived of thy love. Thou art infinite goodness, and most worthy of infinite love. If hitherto I have despised thy grace, I now value it above all the kingdoms of the earth. And because I have offended thee, I beseech thee to avenge thyself upon me, not indeed by casting me away from thy face, but by giving me such a sorrow for my sins as may cause me to lament my guilt before thee, all the days of my life. Lord, I love thee with my whole heart, and as I cannot trust that I shall continue faithful to thy love, be thou my help and my succour. And do thou, O holy Virgin help me with your holy intercession.
On Jesus suffering the punishment due to our sins.
I. SURELY he hath borne our infirmities, and carried our sorrows. Isa. liii. 4. Who could believe this, if divine faith did not assure us of it: "Surely "he hath borne our infirmities!" Man sins, and the Son of God makes satisfaction for him. O Jesus, I have sinned, and hast thou made satisfaction for