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God, His Unity and Perfection: Goodness and Love of God Around Penitent Sinners

Again we have Bossuet’s Elevations on the Mysteries, 1,8:

It is said by a common proverb (Jeremiah 3) : If a husband leaves his wife and she, going away from him, marries another husband, will the first take her back? This woman, will she not be soiled and abominable? And you, sinning soul, you are freed from all your lovers.  It is not I who has left you, no, I am a faithful spouse and who myself has never divorced: it is you, unfaithful soul, who has abandoned me and given yourself not only to one lover, but to thousands and thousands of corrupters. Come soon to me, says the Lord, and I will receive you. Look on all sides, and such as your sight can stretch itself out, you will only see the scars of your infamies.  In what place have you not prostituted yourself, unclean soul, given up to all the desires of your heart? You were as exposed in public roads, and there was no creature who did not captivate your heart.  I repeated to you your revenges, your envies, your secret hatred, your ambition to which you sacrificed all, your impure and disordered loves? All the earth has been soiled with your prostitutions and your malices.  You have the forehead of an impudent, you have not blushed because of your excesses.  So come back, at least from now on: call me your father, your spouse and the conductor of my virginity.  Why do you always want to grow distant from me like an angry woman, why do you persist in your unjust anger? You have said that you have done bad things, you have puffed your self up, you have done this and you have little. I have abandoned you to your ways. Come back, unfaithful, and I will not turn my eyes away from you: because I am the Holy One, says the Lord, and my anger will not be forever. Only know your iniquity and that you have lied against the Lord. There is no leafy tree in the forest which is not a witness of your shame: there is no vain pleasure which has not misled you and you have not listened to me, says the Lord. Turn yourselves around, rebellious children: turn yourselves around and come back to the father’s house, prodigal children: you will be clothed in the first robe, a party will be celebrated in your honour: the whole house will be joyful and your father, touched with a particular tenderness, will excuse himself to the just ones which never left him by saying: You are always with me: but I must rejoice because your brother was dead and has come back alive: he was lost and has been found again. Rejoice with me, and with all of heaven, which makes a party at the conversion of sinners and conceives a greater joy for the return of one than for the perseverance of ninety-nine just  ones, which have no need for penitence.

Come back now, disobedient children (Ezekiel 18) come back, unfaithful spouses, because I am your spouse. (Jeremiah 3).  Is it my will that the impious perish and not that he will turn back and live? (Ezekiel 18) Come back, do penance and your sin will not turn you to ruin.  Put distance between you and your lies and disobediences, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.  And why do you want to die, children of Israel, while I, I who have offended you, want your life? No, I do not want the death of the sinner, says the Lord God: come back and live.

It is I, I myself, who wipes out your iniquities for the love of myself (Isaiah 43:25) and to satisfy my goodness: and I will not call to mind again your sins.  Only, remember me. Let us enter into judgement one with another: I want to lower myself to that point. Plead your cause: with what do you justify your ingratitudes, after which I have forgiven you so many times? Jacob remember, do not forget. (Isaiah 44) I have wiped away your iniquities like a cloud: I have dissipated your sins, like the sun dissipates fog.  Sinners, return to me, because I have bought you. O Heavens, sing his praises: earth, resound your praises from one end to the other: mountains, carry your songs to the clouds, because the Lord has shown mercy. As the heaven is raised up above the earth, so has he exalted and strengthened his mercies: as the sunrise is far from the sunset, so he has drawn away from us our iniquities. (Psalm 101) Like a father has pity for his children, so also God pities us, because he knew our weakness and what a mass we were burdened down with. We are only mud and dust; our days leave like grass and fall like a flower: and our soul, more fragile than our body, has no consistency.


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