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"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

True Conversion For Hardened Sinners by the Reverend Richard Hayes, O.S.F.

True Conversion For Hardened Sinners  
by the Reverend Richard Hayes, O.S.F.

What doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul?--St. Matthew, c. xvi. v.26

Answer, O ye Rich! the question of your Savior. "What doth it profit a son of Adam, a daughter of Eve, to gain the whole world, if they-lose their own souls?" 

 Press play and listen as you read...

To pass a life of ease and gaiety; to revel in the uncontrolled enjoyment of all that sensuality calls for, pride commands, fancy whimpers after, affluence gives, and God abhors; to live, the Caesar, the Cleopatra of the age, wielding, in majesty, the scepter of despotic sway; or, in private life, with Dives, clothed in purple, to gorge the luxuries of appetite, loll on the couch of pleasure, or frisk, the wanton children of the dance; ignorant of, and pitiless for, the furnishing Lazarus's, who in vain crawl round their gates. Answer, O ye Rich! what doth it profit you thus to gain the whole world, if, in the end, you lose your own souls? What doth it profit you thus to enjoy (pardon, O Religion! the profanation of the term) a heaven of transitory comfort here, if you are to be doomed to that never-ending crush of torturing misery, which we faintly designate by the name of hell, hereafter? Answer the question of your Savior, O ye Rich! answer it, in the terrors, in the tears, of conscious guilt and folly.

But, was it to the rich alone thou didst address it, Jesus, Savior of all? Ah no. Answer it then, likewise, O ye Poor! Say, what doth it profit you to gain the world to gain, did I say?--what doth it profit you, to lose the whole world; to live, to die, bereft of every, even the most trivial, comfort which the world affords; and, after all your sufferings, to lose your immortal souls into the bargain? To spend your days in the most toilsome labour, (happy, even when you so can spend them) and your nights in a desponding anxiety, how you shall fare on the morrow; to eat, through life, the bread of bitterness, and quaff the water of affliction; uneducated and ignorant, to know almost nothing, save the wretchedness under which you groan; in cold, hunger, filth, distemper, and nakedness, with your wives and your hapless little ones, whose future prospects are no better than your own--to drag on a miserable existence, despised, neglected, unpitied, and forlorn, till death comes to close your eye-lids; and then--and then (to fill up your cup of woe for ever to the brim) instead of passing from labour to ease, from distress to comfort, from tears to joy, from exile to your country, from misery to happiness; in a word, instead of passing from earth to heaven--only to exchange your burthen of temporal affliction, for the eternal weight of God's eternal vengeance, which begins to wreak its fury on your devoted heads. O my brethren, the Poor! Say, speak; if it profiteth nothing to the rich, to gain the whole world, while they lose their own souls; say, speak; who can imagine the misfortune of you, O Poor, who, gaining nothing but affliction in this life, earn for yourselves the horrors of endless darkness in the next?

But, my brethren, in addressing to you this all-important question of your Redeemer, shall I consider only your high, or low station in society? or shall I not, likewise, and principally, consider the respective condition of your souls with regard to salvation? Shall I speak to you only as men, and in the order of nature? or shall I not, likewise, and principally, speak to you as Christians and in the order of grace? Answer me, then, O ye members of unorthodox communions, and in me, his minister, answer your Redeemer. What doth it profit you to have gained, not the whole world, (for I no longer allude to temporal prosperity) but what the whole world could not give you--the knowledge of the true God--if, nevertheless, you lose your souls for ever? What doth it profit you to submit your reason to revelation, in your belief of the Trinity, the Incarnation, and some other incomprehensible truths, announced by Christ Jesus--if, nevertheless, you give Him the lie, in such of His mysteries as your fancy has rejected, and thus, according to St. James, ii, 10, by offending in one point, become guilty of all?" What doth it profit you to boast your Savior's name, if, by refusing to "hear His Church, you are to Him as heathens and as publicans?" What doth it profit you to call Him "Lord, Lord," if He will not admit you into His kingdom; and when, on the day of mankind's doom; you shall beseech Him to receive you, His reply is to be, "I know you not. Depart from me all ye workers of iniquity?" What doth it profit you to read and con by rote His sacred scriptures, if by your own prejudices and willful ignorance, you find but death in the words of life, error in the oracles of truth, and eternal ruin in the pages of salvation?

Oh England! England! the rebellious daughter of the Church of God, tossed about by every wind of doctrine; let three centuries of revolt and terror suffice for thy unhappy wanderings. Return, return to thy ancient mother; to Her who preached Christ to thy pagan Saxon ancestors; to Her whom thy forefathers faithfully loved nine hundred years; to Her, from whom thou didst receive those very scriptures, which Thou hast so misinterpreted and abused; to Her who is the Church built by Christ upon Peter, against which the gates of Hell shall never prevail; the pillar and the ground of truth, with whom the Son of God hath promised to be for ever, even to the consummation of the world. Return, O England! return to the Lord thy God; for what doth it profit thy children to gain the whole world, or to see thee at the head of the nations, if they are to suffer the loss of their own souls?

You, my Catholic brethren, have not rebelled against the Church of God. You have not swerved from your allegiance to the Spouse of Christ. You, therefore, cannot, like your unhappy neighbors, be charged with defection from the "faith, once delivered to the saints." But, shall your fidelity to the only true and ancient creed of Christians, exempt, either me from putting, or you from answering, the awful interrogation of your Savior? Shall it not, on the contrary, give to that question, when addressed to you, a ten-fold terror?

Answer me than, you, too, O Catholics! what doth it profit you, to have received your birth, your baptism, and your early impressions, in the pale of the Church of Christ; taught, from your infancy, to reverence His truths, frequent his sacraments, and live according to His laws; conscious of the, happiness, and glorying in the honor, of being the sheep of His ancient, only fold; ready to shed your blood, rather than renounce the name your bear; moving heaven and earth, on the bare suspicion of any attempt to injure your religion;--answer me, O Catholics! what do your faith, your zeal, and all your advantages profit you, if your lives square not with your professions; if your faith work not by charity; if it be a dead faith, which condemns, not justifies you; if you be the mere hearers, not the performers of the law; if you neglect those sacraments, which you so highly venerate; if, through your crimes, the name of our God, the character of His Church, be blasphemed among the Gentiles, among the separatists and the impious; if your condition, on that awful day prove, consequently, worse than that of Sodom and Gomorrah, of Tyre and Sidon, of the nations, who have never known the Catholic faith of your Savior, or who, for centuries, have deformed and lost it; if, in a word, with all our justly boasted privileges, you, you too, suffer the loss of your own souls? What doth it profit you, if, in the course of the present year, you have formed resolutions of conversion, which, however, you have left unexecuted? What doth it profit you, if even now you be in the state of grace, but will not persevere unto the end? And what doth it profit me, if (soul-shivering word of the vessel of election, St. Paul!) dum aliies praedico, ipse reprobus fiam--while I preach this day so ardently to others, I, myself, be among the reprobates on the last?

Oh God! who wilt judge every one according to his works; and whose sweeping, universal criterion, on the great accounting day, will be the distinction, not of Pagans and of Christians, not of Jews and of Gentiles, not of Heretics and of Catholics, not of Rich and of Poor, not of People and of people and of Pastors--but, embracing every condition of man, and every diversity of human act, the all-comprehensive distinction of--Sinners, and of--Just; grant, Thou, then avenging, but now pardoning God! that we, who tremble at the bare idea of Thy dread judgment, may, through our sincere amendment and unshaken perseverance, prove, by the fact, our full conviction of that truth, so often inculcated by Thee--that the very faith which we profess, and without which, as the Apostle saith, it is impossible to please Thee--instead of saving us from thy wrath, shall be but to our greater condemnation, unless, through the worthy and holy use of thy sacraments, now while we have time, we stay the arm of Thy justice, by washing away our sins in Thy mercy!

However frightful the reflection, that sins, which arise from the infirmities of depraved nature; into which we are often hurried by the force of temptation, the allurements of the occasion, by surprise, perhaps, as much as by malice; sins, to commit which, a moment of passion suffices--however frightful, I say, the reflection, that such seemingly pardonable transgressions, should, by the vengeance of a just God, be visited in another world, with an eternity of the extremest torment;--however anxious the sinner may feel, to persuade himself, if his religion did not assure him of the contrary, that Hell was a mere fable, invented to alarm weak minds--however unwilling even pious and regular Christians maybe, to fix their thoughts on a subject so horrible; and however solicitous I myself may feel, to escape the character of a preacher, who delights in terrifying the souls of the Christian people; yet, neither my delicacy, your thoughtlessness, the scoffs of the impious, who in vain strive to disbelieve it, nor the apparently huge disproportion between the offense and the punishment, will ever make less true, less terrible, less effectual or infallible, the sentence of the God of truth and justice, in the, 25th chapter of His Evangelist Matthew, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into eternal fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels."

Were our forgetfulness of this dread truth, to diminish it in reality, as it diminishes it in our own imagination; were the oceans of iniquity, which inundate the world, to quench that unquenchable flame, which they kindle for the souls of sinners; were my silence to silence either the wailing or gnashing of teeth in outer darkness, or to still the fires of that unextinguishable furnace, which the breath of an angry God shall keep for ever burning; or, did I even hope, that the milder motives which prompt to virtue, could have sufficient influence on the mind of many an obstinate sinner; I should be the last priest to the Church of God, to muster up the horrors of eternal perdition before the eyes of my audience.

But, when neither the love of virtue, the hatred of vice, the example of the good, the misfortune of the bad; honor, shame, human respect; the sanctity of religion, the light of reason, the innate desire of happiness here and hereafter--no, nor the blood and sufferings of the very God who is to judge them, dying for their sins, can induce numbers of unfortunate Christians to fly that course of vice, in which they must long since have tired themselves; when I see them still rushing headlong into the bottomless pit of damnation, shall I not snatch the rod of the Almighty's vengeance, and, as His minister, scourge them back from the brink of Hell?--You may scoff, sinners, at the uncloaked terms in which I address you.

Voltaire, the gay, the boasting, the immoral, the irreligious Voltaire, scoffed, all his life time, at the fires and furies and hob goblins, as he called them, of the Christian Hell. But in vain did he scoff, in vain did he affect, in vain did he boast, in vain did he strive with all his might to banish the distracting thought. it haunted him on his death-pillow. In his terror he sends for a priest, his philosophic friends will not allow the minister of consolation to enter. Voltaire, the wretched Voltaire, curses them for their unnatural cruelty; and turning, in his despondence, towards that Jesus, whom he had, for more than fourscore years, blasphemed; not daring to pray, with horrid execrations calls upon his Redeemer, now to wreak his vengeance on him for ever, as the hour of His justice was come; and so, expires, after having experienced, by real anticipation, for a day and a night, to the horror of those who surrounded him, all that torment, rage, fury and despair, to which he felt that his crimes were about to devote him in another world!

Christians! until you cease to sin; until you make use of the means given you for your justification--the holy sacraments of Christ's institution; the ministers of his word will never cease to warn you with St. Paul, that it is a "horrible, horrible thing, to fall into the hands of the living God!" Oh Heavens! sinners, what are you about? do you really think? do you really believe? Come, answer; "which of you can dwell with everlasting flames?" It is not I, it is your God, it is His prophet, it is your conscience which puts you the question. Which of you, then, after such a thought, can remain, not for a moment, but for years, for your whole lives, in that state of sin, in which were you to die, you must be as certain as you are of your own existence, that Hell will be our doom.

Come, I ask plain questions, and demand plain answers; it is not a time, it is not a subject, in which my conscience can allow me to qualify, or soften down my expressions. Sinners! do you believe there is a Hell? You do. Do you believe, that its torments, both of body and soul, exceed all that eye has seen, ear heard, or the heart of man conceived; and that the scripture justly calls them fire, because this element, though only their shadow, is the most excruciating instrument of torture, with which we are here acquainted? You do. Do you believe, that originally prepared for the punishment of the Devil and his angels, Hell is likewise to be the eternal dungeon of souls, who die in mortal, sin? You do. Do you believe that the smoke at their torments shall ascend for ever, as long as God shall be God? You do. Are you in mortal sin? You are. Will you die in mortal sin? You hope not. Why hope not? Because you hope to be converted before you die. How, before you die? When shall you die? today? tonight? tomorrow? in a twelvemonth? Where shall you die? at home? abroad? on sea? on land. How shall you die? by sickness? by accident? lingering sudden? in your senses? in phrensy? With what assistance shall you die? with a clergyman? without one? with sacraments? without them. In what disposition shall you die? in contrition? in despair? Answer me, answer yourselves all these questions, sinners! No; you cannot; you know nothing of them.

Why, then, say you hope not to die in mortal sin? Because others who have lived bad lives, as well as you, have been converted before their deaths? If you speak of death-bed conversions; in scripture, history, and daily experience, I know but of one insulated fact, upon which to rest this your so confident expectation; namely, the conversion of the good thief upon the cross. And it is matter of doubt, whether even he were not well disposed, before he was led forth to execution. At all events, if ever, from the creation of the universe, there existed a moment, in which the infinite mercy of God was more particularly called upon to perform the miracle of a dying conversion; it was when that thrice happy felon hung, expiring in the pangs of crucifixion, alongside the Redeemer of Mankind.

But, with what confidence can you, sinners, ground your vain hopes upon so unexampled an occurrence? If, however, you speak of the conversions of great criminals, long before their deaths, you have hundreds, I allow; but, remark the difference between these holy converts and you. They made sure of the grace, which called them to repentance; the reflection which struck them; the sermon they heard; the advice which was given; the disaster which befell them; they made good and effectual use of these favors of their God; and, therefore, were they converted. Had they taken no notice of them, they would not have amended: they would have lived and died in their sins.

You, on the contrary, obstinate sinners! despise all graces. The truths of faith make no impression on you; the stings of conscience spur you not from crime; weariness in iniquity does not make you tired of it; sermons gratify your curiosity, excite your criticism, but neither entice you to virtue, nor drag you from vice. Dare not, then, ever to quote, as a proof of your future conversion, the amendment of others, (be they ever so numerous) who may have returned to their duty; until, like them, you have made sure of the grace, which calls you. Dare not, when a friend, in public or in private, or when your conscience (the best of all your friends, if you listen to her, the worst of all your foes, if on disregard her) asks you, as I have done just now, whether you will die in mortal sin? dare not, I say, reply, as you have done, in your hearts, to me, that you hope to be converted were you to die. It is not hope; it is just presumption.

You have no right to hope for your conversion, until you have corresponded with the grace which is to convert you. Those who have done so, and who are serious in their endeavors to accomplish their salvation, they may hope for ultimate success; and this hope, while they do what in them lies, will ensure them that success; But as for you, instead of hope, you have every reason to dread, nay, to be certain of, the very contrary, to wit: that a long-suffering God will finally seal that sentence of reprobation, which you have so long refused, and still refuse, to cancel by your conversion.

But, what is it that detains you in sin, Christians? Leaving hell and all its horrors out of the question, what is there so charming, so enticing, so powerfully fascinating in that monster, as to make you wish, were it possible, to adhere to it for ever? I know that, in the moment of temptation, when passion and the senses cloud the eye of reason, and in spite of her fears of guilt and punishment, bewilder the unhappy soul into criminal consent; I know that, in that fatal moment, a transitory something, misnamed pleasure, seizes, for an instant, on the confused faculties. But, tell me, you who have with sinful Solomon, exhausted all the resources of vice, and reveled, and roamed at large in the grossest, as well as in the most refined gratifications of sense and fancy; you, who, in high or in low life, have been, and are, the slaves of unworthy passions; from the high-born, splendid, voluptuous prodigal, to the low-lived, caitiff, drunken debauchee, from the glittering lady of pleasure and fashion, to the ragged, abandoned, famished street-stroller;.--tell me, for you know it, when reflection has succeeded to the intoxication of vice; when the momentary, filthy incentive to crime has, by base compliance, lost its allurement; if a spark of religion, virtue, honor, decency, remain in your guilty souls; do you not curse-your own weakness and misfortune, and, covered with shame, bemoan, in the rackings of remorse, the vile degradation, into which you have allowed your depraved infirmities to sink you? Are you not even compelled to fly from your own thoughts, and drown the sense of your misery, in a constant round of your crimes and dissipation; which, in the end, leave you no rest, save the gloomy stillness of black dispair--Filii hominum, usquequo gravi corde?

Oh sinful sons of men! cries out the Psalmist, how long, with heavy, groveling, insensible hearts, will you hunt after empty baubles and gilded lies? which, insuring to you, in the next life, all the endless horrors I have been describing, gratify you, even in this, with nothing but what your own experience must make you call--filthy humiliation and disappointment! Oh sinners! return to the moral dignity of your nature; curb your passions; flee the occasions of baseness. Look to the church into which you have been born by baptism; consider the sanctity of the religion you profess; look to your Jesus, who died to cleanse you from your crimes.

Remember, that you once were, and, if converted, will again become, the adopted children of the eternal Father, the co-heirs of the Divine Son, the tabernacles of the Holy Spirit. Raise your thoughts, your eyes, your hearts to Heaven. Or, if all will not do, remember Hell! for, "what doth it profit a man to gain the whole world, if he lose his own soul?"

"But, your vicious habits, oh thoughtless youth! are strong, you say. You would in vain strive to overcome them now. You will do it with more ease and with more effect, when the age of passion shall be gone by; when the steadiness of manhood shall have matured the powers of your mind; when an advancement in years shall have cooled the fervor of youth, and stifled the unhappy flame of sin, in your dissipated and shattered frame."--I hear, I hear; fine delusions of the old deceiver of mankind! which have secured to him, in Hell, thousands of souls, who, flattered by the charm in prospects which they had formed to themselves, of future conversion; and running on in their usual career, have been suddenly cut short by an early sickness, and thus forced to trust to the poor, poor chance, the rotten reed of a death-bed confession. I have seen, I have known many. So have we all. Priests of the living God, we administer to them the last sacraments; we pray, we sacrifice for their souls; we thus impart consolation to their grieving friends; but--ask us what our opinion is, and what it ought to be, of such conversions?

We will tell you, that, although we cannot confine the omnipotent mercy of God to any moment of existence, yet, the daily experience of relapse in case of recovery, has taught us a dismal, salutary lesson; which is in public, in private, in the pulpit, in the confessional, by all that is sacred and holy in our faith, to conjure every Christian, as he values his-salvation, and dreads eternal perdition, never to depend on a death bed repentance.

"But, you are to be one of the few, my son whom the Lord hath blessed with a long life." Be it so. Perhaps you are not acquainted with the truth of what I am about to mention. Extratra ordinary as it may seem, the fact is not a whit the less true; that it is, in general, a far rarer miracle of grace, to see an old sinner, who has become decrepit in the ways of iniquity, truly converted; than to witness the perfect amendment of the stripling reprobate, whom the ebullitions of youth have for some time carried astray. For, "his bones," saith Saphar, in Job, speaking of the former, "his bones shall be filled with the vices of his youth, and they shall sleep with him in the dust." And, if some have done penance for their past crimes and follies, in an advanced age, do you imagine that they had not as great difficulties to surmount, as the most youthful among you? or that their amendment was the effect of anything else but that all-powerful grace, which is now offered to you, as it was to them, with this sole difference, that while you reject it, they, luckily for themselves, co-operated with it? Away then with all these vain prospects of future conversion! Now or never! must be the motto of every sinner; and no sinner ever did, ever will, ever can, return to his duty, until he adopts it. Now or never then, Christian!

What; do you still hesitate? do you still dispair of success? It is an illusion. Try. "But you have tried, and have failed." Try again. "But you have repeated the trial, and have again relapsed." Heed it not; try once more. "But you are wearied of trying, and therefore think you may as well give loose reins to your passions." Hear me, Sinner! The desire of perfect conversion is already half the work. Between each two of these several trials which you have made, tell me, although relapsing, have you fallen the one half, have you fallen the one tenth so often into crime, as since, despairing of success, you have given full scope to your unhappy propensities? No; you have not. Recommence then; and should you again and again be brought to the ground, rise after every fall. Burst your bonds, before the enemy has had time to rivet them into a habit. Remain not in his power. Fly immediately to confession. A charitable director, who, with St. Peter, has learned from his Divine Master, to forgive, not seven, but seventy-seven times, will pity your weakness, when he sees your sincerity and comfort and relieve you. And were you to die in the mean time, before you had been established in the complete mastership of your frailties, even so, one would die with a strong and well-founded hope of happiness, of which, on the contrary, you would not have even the shadow, were you to wait till death should wring your confession from you.

Do then, sinner, whosoever you be; do, take the warning I now give you; it is not mine; it is the warning of your Jesus, and your Judge. If you reject it, you have no right to expect another. Nay; your ingratitude, your contempt in rejecting it, would render you positively unworthy of receiving a second. Listen to it, then, as you would to the last trumpet; for, be you assured, as you comply with, or, despise it, it will prove to you, like the signal of the Archangel, your summons to Heaven, or, to Hell! Take your choice; your eternal fate is now in your own hands. Do, what you shall then rejoice to have done. Be not deluded by the infidel cant of the debauchee--that God is too good to punish for ever. Shall He punish at all? If He shall; then, He will punish for ever. Out of hell there is no redemption. How can there? To be redeemed, you must repent; to repent, you must love God; to love God, you must feel His mercy, and not his justice only. In Hell, you will feel only His justice; His mercy will be shut out from you. You will, with the devils, "believe and tremble." You will be the slaves of fear, not the children of love; and servile fear can excite no grief, but the grief of despair.

Shall God be a tyrant, in thus leaving you for ever to your doom? Though you could repent in Hell, would you? You can repent here, yet you will not. What symptom then, do you show, that you would repent there? When is pardon offered to the convict? Is it after execution? Is it not before? And, if he refuse to repent, is the respite never to end? Is the executioner never to perform his office? That is; (quitting the simile) is God to be eternally mocked?

Oh, sinner, sinner, shake off your delusion. It is here, it is on earth, it is in this life, that God offers you that grace of repentance, which infidels vainly promise you in Hell. Now is the term of your respite; a moment hence, and that term may expire. Seize it, then, now while you can. You have only to will it, and your pardon is secure. If you refuse; then, remember, that the question of Him, who is now your Jesus, but shall soon be your Judge; that question, which, from my lips, He has so often put to you this morning; that question, I say, shall eternally pierce your ears; and, in Hell, changing its future tense into the irretrievable past, and the never-to-be-ended present, shall tear the very vitals of your unhappy, yet everlasting being, with a--"What doth it profit you to have gained the whole world, now that you have lost your own soul?"!

I arraign this day before the tribunal of their Redeemer's mercy, (in order that He, their Judge, may not arraign them before that of His avenging justice, when His mercy shall be no more) all the inhabitants of this city; as well those who, being sectaries, have not sought by prayer and unprejudiced inquiry, and embrace, when found, the Catholic Truth of Jesus; as likewise those, who, being Catholics, have, for years, obstinate in sin, neglected to present themselves at the bar of confession, for their acquittal from the mortal crimes, which their consciences lay to their charge.

I warn both, to look back and reflect, how many Christians of dissipated character, young and old, have within the now expiring twelve month, passed, as from the gay, as from the low scenes of corruption, with which Dublin abounds, to take their last trial, on the other side the grave, with no other document to show cause, why the sentence of eternal reprobation should not be pronounced against them, save the precarious pardon of a death-bed absolution. Though an almost perfect stranger in year city, I could mention the names of several. You, yourselves, my brethren, can point out many more, who have found themselves in this sad condition. And what sinner now hears me, who can promise himself, that he shall not be summoned to the same account, before the lapse of the ensuing year? I arraign, more particularly, the multitude of ungrateful Christians who, having once experienced, after lives of iniquity, the happiness of a reconciliation with their God, have since returned to their former evil practices; and, by not again laying hold on their only remaining plank after shipwreck, have plunged, farther and deeper than ever, into the ocean of crime. Still more solemnly do I arraign those souls, whom the stings of conscience, the inspirations of grace, prompted during the year, to think of, or perhaps begin, the work of their justification; but, who have since relinquished the design; or left this, their only important concern, imperfect.

And now, my God! if the strong expressions and arguments I have made use of on this occasion; if all the horrors of Hell, mustered up by me in black and burning array before Thy people, terrify to his duty one single individual of this numerous class of unhappy sinners, before the time allotted for the next Paschal Communion shall have terminated; if the consideration of these dread truths induce me, and all offending and imperfect Christians like me, to work out our salvation in fear and trembling; if this remembrance of Thy wrath teach the virtuous and perfect to prize, with humble confidence, that happy disposition of grace, which requires not the frequent terrors of Thy vengeance to make them persevere in Thy love and service; if all or any of these desirable effects, but, particularly, the first, (namely, the conversion of any one sinner, Protestant, or Catholic, who hears me) flow from the discourse, which has just been pronounced; Thy minister, O my God! I will descend from thy pulpit, rejoicing that His words have been of use, and caring little, in that case, how much he may have shocked the delicate ears of sinners or of critics, either in the choice of his terms, or in the management of his subject. For, O Judge of all Mankind! what will it profit me, or these Thy people, to gain the whole world, if we lose our own souls?

Blessed and adorable Trinity! Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! Eternal, incomprehensible Majesty of Three Persons in One God! Ever just and ever merciful! Before whom all things are nothing; who standest in need of none, but as Thou wert, so art, and shalt for ever be, the same incorruptible, unassailable Deity, in spite of the rebellious of angels, and of men! Vouchsafe to cast thine eye of pity on us, Thy sinful creatures, prostrate at the foot of thy Almighty Throne. Give us a true idea of the infinitely heinous crime, committed by a reptile of earth, when he dares to transgress the law of so great a God. Impress upon our minds, a just dread of that eternal punishment, which Thy infinite justice inflicts upon the infinite malice of unrepenting obstinacy. Father! who didst make us to Thy image; Son! who didst redeem us by Thy death; Holy Spirit! who didst enlighten us with thy truth, and sanctify us with Thy grace; restore us all to the dignity of adoption, which we have lost by sin; wash away our filth in the blood of our Redeemer; sanctify us anew by salutary fear, due examination, heart-felt sorrow, sincere confession, and firm and lasting amendment, in thy great sacrament of reconciliation; that so, believing, fearing, adoring, and loving Thee on earth, we may, with thy angels, rejoice in Thy presence for ever Who livest and reignest, one God, in Three Divine Persons, world without end. Amen.

Intercessory Litany
of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
for the Conversion of Sinners

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven,
Have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Ghost,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God,
Have mercy on us.

Holy Mary,
Pray for us. *

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Queen of Heaven, *
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, vanquisher of Satan, *
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, most dutiful Daughter, *
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, most pure Virgin, *
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, most devoted Spouse, *
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, most tender Mother, *
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, perfect model of virtue, *
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, sure anchor of hope, *
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, refuge in affliction, *
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, dispenser of God's gifts, *
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, tower of strength against our foes, *
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, our aid in danger, *
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, road leading to Jesus, *
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, our light in darkness, *
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, our consolation at the hour of death, *
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, advocate of the most abandoned sinners, *

For those hardened in vice:
With confidence we come to thee, O Lady of Mount Carmel.

For those who grieve thy Son:
With confidence we come to thee, O Lady of Mount Carmel.

For those who neglect to pray:
With confidence we come to thee, O Lady of Mount Carmel.

For those who are in their agony:
With confidence we come to thee, O Lady of Mount Carmel.

For those who delay their conversion:
With confidence we come to thee, O Lady of Mount Carmel.

For those suffering in Purgatory:
With confidence we come to thee, O Lady of Mount Carmel.

For those who know thee not:
With confidence we come to thee, O Lady of Mount Carmel.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Have mercy on us.

V. Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Hope of the Despairing:
R. Intercede for us with thy Divine Son.

Let us pray:
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, glorious Queen of Angels, channel of God's tenderest mercy to man, refuge and advocate of sinners, with confidence I prostrate myself before thee beseeching thee to obtain for me (pause, to mention request secretly). In return I solemnly promise to have recourse to thee in all my trials, sufferings and temptations, and I shall do all in my power to induce others to love and reverence thee and to invoke thee in all their needs. I thank thee for the numberless blessings which I have received from thy mercy and powerful intercession. Continue to be my shield in danger, my guide in life, and my consolation at the hour of death. Amen.

Prayer for the Conversion of Sinners

O Mary, Mother of Perpetual Help, thou knowest so well the great value of an immortal soul. Thou knowest what it means, that every soul has been redeemed by the Blood of thy Divine Son; thou wilt then not despise my prayer, if I ask from thee the conversion of a sinner, nay, a great sinner who is rapidly hurrying on towards eternal ruin. Thou, O good, merciful Mother, knowest well his irregular life.

Remember, then, that thou art the refuge of sinners, remember that God has given thee power to bring about the conversion of even the most wretched sinners. All that has been done for his soul has been unsuccessful; if thou dost not come to his assistance, he will go from bad to worse. Obtain for him an effectual grace that he may be moved and brought back to God and his duties. Send him, if necessary, temporal calamities and trials, that he may enter into himself, and put an end to his sinful course.

Thou, O most merciful Mother, hast converted so many sinners at the intercession of their friends. Be moved also by my prayer, and bring this unhappy soul to true conversion of heart. O Mary, help; O Mother of Perpetual Succor, show that thou art the advocate and refuge of sinners. So I hope, so may it be.

Jesus, Help Me!
(Composed by an English Bishop, during his last illness)

In every need let me come to Thee with humble trust, saying, "Jesus, help me!

In all my doubts, perlexities, and temptations, Jesus, help me!

In hour of loneliness, weariness and trials, Jesus, help me!

In the failure of my plans and hopes; in disappointments, troubles and sorrows, Jesus, help me!

When others fail me, and Thy Grace alone can assist me, Jesus, help me!

When I throw myself on Thy Tender Love as a Father and Savior, Jesus, help me!

When my heart is cast down by failure, at seeing no good come from my efforts, Jesus, help me!

When I feel impatient, and my cross irritates me, Jesus, help me!

When I am ill, and my head and hands cannot work and I am lonely, Jesus, help me!

Always, always, in spite of weakness, falls and shortcomings of every kind, Jesus, help me and never forsake me.