Governing the Sinner

Father Geiermann continues his discussion of the manner in which God governs His creation. Here he explains how God governs the sinner.

“The fundamental truth, that there is a God who rewards the good and punishes the wicked, remains engraven on the sinner’s nature, and may prompt the sinner to go from one extreme to the other. The reaction will begin, if it occurs at all, when the sinner is forced by some misfortune to look into himself and acknowledge that his longing for happiness is still unsatisfied. For it is then that he hears the sentinel of truth proclaim: ‘Time is fleeting—life is short—eternity lasting. Man wants something more than the world can give to make him happy.’ . . . If he lends a willing ear to the truth, the voice of truth will continue: ‘As you sow, so shall you reap.—Eternal misery to him who betrays his conscience to the last. Eternal happiness to him, who hears the truth and follows it.—While there is life there is hope; but after death comes the judgment.’ . . . Truth exhorts: ‘Then turn to God and ask His help! He alone can help you now; and He is interested in you as your Maker.’ The sinner obeys. Impelled by his natural desire for happiness and his inborn fear of misery, the sinner turns to God for the first time in his life and prays: ‘Pity! Mercy! Help!'”

Through His prophets, the Lord said, “Turn to Me, and I will turn to you” (Zech 1:3), “Be converted to Me, and you shall be saved” (Isa 45:22). And Christ Himself said, “Ask, and it shall be given you: seek and you shall find: knock and it shall be opened unto you” (Matt 7:7). Father Geiermann remarks: “Surely, the Saviour acted entirely in accordance with this teaching, when on a similar occasion He replied to the prayer of the penitent thief: ‘Amen, I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with Me in paradise’ (Luke 23:43). If, then, the sinner continues to pray and to cultivate the friendship of God, and so offers God a constant opportunity to aid him, God will draw on the infinite treasures of His grace to give the sinner light and counsel, strength and support, hope and confidence, until the fetters of sin are broken.”

Quotations from Peter Geiermann, The Narrow Way (New York: Benziger, 1914).

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