I’m reading through The Prayers & Meditations of St. Anselm still, I decided not to skip the prayers to the saints after all. They’re honestly fairly idolatrous, but there are still some amazing portions so I’ll read through. This morning I read a prayer to Peter. In part it read:
The runaway returns
and asks forgiveness for his errors and disobedience,
He shows to the good and healing shepherd
the gashes of wounds, and the bites of wolves,
which he ran into when he strayed,
and the neglected sore places
that he has had for a long time.
He begs him to have mercy while there is still life in him,
and he prays more by showing his need
to the merciful shepherd
than by any beseeching.
It ocurred to me how great a mercy it is that God continually rescues us from sin. Imagine a man who goes for a hike in the woods and is attacked by a mountain lion. He is injured, bleeding and unable to escape to safety. Imagine his gratitude if he were rescued from death.
When we sin and God does not abandon us fully to our sin but grants us the sweet gift of repentance, how much more grateful ought we to be. Is it not true that our enemy roams about like a lion, roaring in search of an opportunity to destroy us? We are spiritually weak apart from God and subject to all sorts of temptations. Are we in our weakness more able to escape our enemy than a wounded man is able to escape a mountain lion? Certainly not. It is true as the scripture proclaims that all good things come from God and repentance is among these good things. He lovingly grants it to His own when they have strayed into sin.
Forbid that we should presume upon this love. I long to be like Anselm in begging for mercy while there is still life in me. The fruit of sin is death as Paul says in Romans and my sins are no exception. I am so grateful that God has mercy on me when I wander into sin before my sin accomplishes its goal of killing me. There are those to whom God has not granted repentance and mercy when they have wandered into sin and it has killed them. They become like Esau and can find no means of repentance though they seek it with tears. What a horrifying fate.
I ought to be so grateful when I sin and I’m not abandoned to my sin but granted repentance instead. Likewise, I need to all the more fear to sin, since there are many who have been destroyed by sins that aren’t any greater than my own when they found no place to repent of them.
How merciful that we have Jesus, an advocate with the Judge. He is willing to receive all who come to him. What hope do we than have but to be fully convinced that if we are to be rescued from our great enemy it must be by Christ, to look to Him to rescue us, and to trust that he will by no means turn us away or abandon us. As Paul tells us, if we deny Christ, He also will deny us; yet if we are faithless, Christ will still be faithful for He cannot deny Himself.