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Those who have survived a shipwreck are wisely dreadful of the sea. And so must those who have sinned in the flesh. Having been mercifully preserved, they must be careful not to die by repeating their sins. 

Having failed to retain their original chastity, they must at least repair it when violated. Many have shown that chastity can be preserved; we, the weaker ones, must at least work to overcome our aberrations. 

They must be reminded of their past sins and threatened with the others that tend to overtake them. The memory of past sins is what makes us blush at the defilement of future sins. 

God condemns wives who leave their husbands and marry another. What is in store for those who have many women? Nevertheless, the Lord says: "Return to me." Thus, because of God's loving kindness, if we do not repent, the greater are our sins. 

In Paradise, God told man what he must do and what he must not do. And man, out of pride, chose what he must not do. And though he showed he despised God, He gave all the help a loving Father would give a favorite child. 

While in our days of innocence we chose sin to God's commands, we showed we despised Him. But God continue to call us from behind. We should at least return to Him after sinning. If we do not fear His justice, at least we should be ashamed in view of that loving kindness with which He invites us to return. Our contempt for Him is more wicked in that in spite of this contempt, He does not disdain to call us back with loving kindness.  


St. Gregory the Great, Pastoral Care, Chapter XXVIII, Part III





(updated 03-15-02)

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