Blessed Fr. Sopocko
Mercy of God:Raising us from the Misery of Sin
The following excerpt is chapter sixteen of the book God Is Mercy (Grail Publications, 1955), by Fr. Michael Sopocko. It was translated by the Marians of the Immaculate Conception:
"Many are the scourges of the sinner: but Mercy shall encompass him that hopeth in the Lord"
— Ps. 31:10
I. SIN is the greatest misery in itself and in the effects which it causes. There is a great stupidity in every sin (Boethius), for it is an unreasonable conduct motivated by animal passions, an inhuman act.
Sin is an offense against God, an infinite evil on account of the infinite dignity of the One offended and the infinite misery of the offender. Sin is arrogance in the eyes of God, Who always sees the sinner through the eyes of a witness and a judge. "I am the judge and the witness, saith the Lord" (Jer. 29:23). Sin is the placing of the created above the Creator, "there is a deceitful balance in his hand" (Os. 12:7). Sin is the greatest ingratitude of man and the abuse of god's Mercy. Sin is an attempt at Deicide which actually took place on Golgotha. Every sinner strives anew to crucify Christ in Whom "there is Mercy: and with Hiim plentiful redemption" (Ps. 129:7).
The effects of sin in the soul and in the body of man are truly horrible. A mortal sin strips man of sanctifying grace and deprives him of the dignity of the childhood of God and instead makes him Satan's child. "He who commits sin is of the devil; because the devil sins from the beginning" (1 John 3:8). Sin deprives man of the right to Heaven and of God's protection with which the Creator usually encompasses chosen souls: "He who does not love abides in death" (1 John 3:14). Moreover, sin deprives the sinner of his old merits and renders him unable to acquire any new ones, it causes anxiety and remorse of conscience and leads to eternal rejection and damnation.
No less horrible are the effects of sin in temporal life. Diseases with the most painful sufferings, wars with the most dismal consequences, hunger, affliction, despair and countless other sores, and the end of all this, death. The history of mankind is a history of sin, a ceaseless painful groan. It is a display of calamities and punishments, a continual drama of crime resulting from the drama of sin. "Depart from me, you workers of iniquity" (Matt. 7:23).
II. I HAVE blotted out thy iniquities as a cloud and they sins as a mist. (Is. 44:22), says God through the mouth of the Prophet announcing the coming Redeemer. In His turn the Redeemer proclaims, "I desire Mercy and not sacrifice. For I have come to call sinners, not the just" (Matt. 9:13). Here the Mercy of God does not stand in opposition to Justice but surpasses it. Instead of crushing the sinner with just vengeance for his iniquity, Mercy makes him contrite with humility. Instead of burdening him with due punishment, it moves him with the sorrow of contrition. And if blood is needed to satisfy Justice, then Mercy does it with the infinitely satiating Blood of the God-Man. In this Blood the infinite wretchedness of sin and God's irrevocable justice are manifest, but, above all, His infinite Mercy. In Christ dying on the cross, "Mercy and truth have met each other: justice and peace kissed" (Ps. 84:11).
If the merits of all the saints and heavenly spirits together with those of the Blessed Virgin Mary were put on one scale, and only one mortal sin on the other, undoubtedly this sin alone would outweigh all those merits, since they, however great they might be, will always be finite and insufficient to satisfy the infinite offense given to God's Majesty by only one mortal sin. Through the infinite Mercy of God Christ the Redeemer made a worthy payment for sin and raised up from the misery of sin all who would believe in Him and reasonably avail themselves of the means of salvation which He established. "But if any one sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the just. And He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world" (1 John 2:1-2), that is to say, one drop of the Blood of the God-Man outweighs the sins of the whole world.
I shall meditate on the efficacy and the never weakening force of Christ's Blood, which contains the weight of eternal glory and through which the Divine power elevates and raises man from the greatest sins. "His Blood gives color to my countenance," says St. Agnes. This Blood should color also my face.