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For the Preservation of the Deposit of the Faith
For the Kingdom of God to come!
Exclusive Representation of the Nativity Scene.
It is known that the grace of God converted Saint Paul at the moment when he was going to persecute the Christians. A highway robber was converted under the same circumstances. He was waiting, pistol in hand, for a merchant who was returning from the fair. He had been huddled behind a hedge for several hours when he heard the sound of footsteps; he raised his weapon, but it was not the merchant, a priest was passing by carrying the viaticum. At this sight, he lowered the barrel of his weapon: grace had penetrated his heart. He threw himself at the priest’s feet and confessed his crime, but the priest said to him gently: «You see that Jesus Christ has not abandoned you. Since you did not come to Him, He came to you in the forest. Therefore, do penance and be another man.» The thief changed his life completely and sought to atone for his crimes through penance.
One should never despair of the sinner before his death, he may be converted at the last moment. In His mercy, at the very moment when the sinner intends to do a bad deed, God often makes him feel His grace.
While Luther was in the Wartburg, his conscience sometimes reproached him bitterly. He himself says: «My heart trembled with fear and wondered: Are you alone in your wisdom, or are all the others in error? What would it be like if you were to err yourself and mislead so many people, who would all be damned? Who is it that called you to preach the Gospel?» Instead of recognizing in these rebukes the voice of God, Luther convinced himself that the devil was teasing him. To drive him away, he threw his inkwell against the wall. The stain was visible in the Wartburg for a long time.
Luther makes it clear that grace can be resisted.
A very poor, pious child, who had to go to school barefoot and poorly dressed, was often teased by a man who had no religion. One day he said to him, «If the good Lord loves you, why doesn’t He tell some rich people to take care of you?» The child thought for a few moments and said to him, «I believe that the good Lord tells some people, but they do not listen to Him.»
This is so true. The good Lord urges men inwardly to do good; but man does not obey God’s voice and that is why grace is not effective.