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The Holy Family in Prayer

An example of the infinite mercy of God

A sinner, laden with many sins, but filled with repentance, presented himself to the venerable Archbishop of Sens, Peter of Corbeil. It was the 12th century, when public penances were still in use in some churches. After making a good confession, he asked if God would forgive him all his sins. “Don’t doubt it, brother, replied the archbishop, as long as you are willing to do the penance imposed on you. – But, could you impose on me a penance rigorous enough to equal the gravity of my crimes?” The prelate seeing the tears of the penitent flowing, could not hold back his own, and gave him a penance of seven years. “What, Father, said the repentant sinner, only seven years for such enormous sins! – I will give you even less, my dear child. It will be enough for you to fast for three days on bread and water. – Please, minister of God, do not lose me by letting my iniquities go unpunished! I implore you, do not spare me, I am ready to do anything.” The holy confessor, seeing such holy dispositions, thought he had to cut back again: “My child, he said, for all penance, recite the Sunday Prayer once.” At these words the penitent gave a great cry, which marked at once his astonishment and his gratitude to the God of mercies, and at the same moment he fell dead. The holy Curé d’Ars, who recounts this event, adds that the soul of the repentant sinner went straight up to heaven.

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