St. Francis de Sales on Justice and Mercy

January 8, 2022 • 1 min

From The Spirit of St. Francis de Sales, page 121
By His friend, Jean Pierre Camus, Bishop of Belley

BLESSED FRANCIS’ SOLICITUDE FOR MALEFACTORS CONDEMNED TO DEATH.

He often went to carry consolation to prisoners, and sometimes accompanied condemned criminals to the place of execution, that he might help them to make a good death.

At such times, too, he kept to the methods we have already described as used by him in his visiting of the rest of the dying. After having made them unburden their conscience, he left them a little breathing space, and then at intervals suggested to them acts of faith, hope, and charity, of repentance, of resignation to the Will of God, and of abandonment to His mercy; not adding to their sufferings by importunity, long harangues, or endless exhortations.

So happily did the Blessed Prelate succeed in this method of treatment, that sometimes the poor criminals whom he accompanied to their execution went to it as to a marriage feast, with joy and peace, such as they had never experienced in the whole course of their lawless and sinful lives, happier far so to die than to live on as they had done. He would say to them:

It is by lovingly kissing the feet of God’s justice that we most surely reach the embrace of His tender mercy. Above all things, we must be confident that they who trust in Him shall never be confounded.

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