would not indeed threaten the winner unless He was infinitely
willing to pardon the penitent. Let no one, therefore, despair of
the vileness of a sinful soul as to believe that God hath no need of
him. The Lord willeth not that one such should perish. Even those of
little worth and the least are divinely and lovingly sought after.
Lo, in the Scriptures, even the piece of silver is searched for and,
when found, is shown unto the neighbors. The poor sheep, albeit
carried back on the stooping shoulders of the Shepherd, is not
burdensome to Him. And over the veriest sinner that repenteth, the
angelic choir rejoices with an infinite gladness.
* * *
"I came to call
sinners to repentance," this He said to the Pharisees in irony,
as when He said: "If I were hungry I would not tell thee."
It was as if He had said: "I am so far from loathing sinners
that even for their sakes only am I come." Then, lest He should
unwittingly make anyone careless, He added always
"repentance" to the word sinner. "For I am not come
that they should continue to be sinners, but that they should change
St. John Chrysostom
* * *
God hears sinners. But if you are
afraid of that which is said in the Scriptures, "We know that
God hears not sinners," let fear and belief in this be far from
you, for he was blind who said it. Therefore, believe rather Him who
said -- and who lies not-- "Though your sins be as scarlet, I
will make them white as snow."
If God hears not sinners, what hope
do we have? If God hears not sinners, why do we pray, and publish
the record of our sin, as did the publican in the temple, by the
beating of our breast? Assuredly, God does hear sinners; but He
answers those only who call on Him in truth and sincerity of heart
and in holiness.