How much St.Francis de Sales trusted in the goodness of God towards sinners

January 7, 2022 • 2 min

From The Spirit of St. Francis de Sales, page 120
By His friend, Jean Pierre Camus, Bishop of Belley

With regard to this subject he related to me an amusing incident which occurred whilst he was a missioner in the Chablais.

Amongst the Priests and Religious who were sent to help him was one of a humorous temperament, and who did not hesitate to show that he was so, even in the pulpit.

One day, when preaching before our Blessed Prelate against the heresiarch [Calvin] who had raised the standard of revolt in Geneva, he said that we should never condemn any one as lost after death, except such as are by Scripture denounced; no, not even the said heresiarch who had caused so much evil by his errors. He went on to say:

For, who knows but that God may have touched his heart at the last moment and converted him? It is true that out of the Church and without the true faith there is no salvation; but who can say that he did not at the moment of death wish to be reunited with the Catholic Church, from which he had separated himself, and acknowledge in his heart the truth of the belief he had combated, and that thus he did not die sincerely repentant?

After having surprised the congregation by these remarks, he most unexpectedly concluded by saying:

We must certainly entertain sentiments of boundless confidence in the goodness of God, Who is infinite in mercy to those who invoke Him. Jesus Christ even offered His peace, His love, and His salvation to the traitor Judas, who betrayed Him by a kiss. Why, then, may He not have offered the same favour to this unhappy heresiarch? Is the arm of God shortened?

Yet, my brethren, believe me, and I assure you I lie not, if this man is not damned he has had the narrowest escape man ever had; and if he has been saved from eternal wreck, he owes to God the handsomest votive candle that a person of his condition ever offered!

As you may imagine, this finale did not draw many tears from the audience!

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