Natural Calamities, Divine Threats?
Earthquake in China...Cyclone in Myanmar...Fires in Florida...Tornado in Iowa...
Read what St. Alphonsis Ligouri has to say on the matter.
God Threatens to Chastise Us in Order to Deliver Us from Chastisement
"Ah, I will comfort Myself over My adversaries: and I will be revenged of my enemies." -----Isa. 1:24.
Such is the language of God, when speaking of punishment and vengeance: He says that He is constrained by His justice to take vengeance on His enemies. But, mark you, He begins with the word Heu, "Ah:" this word is an exclamation of grief by which He would give us to understand, that if He were capable of weeping when about to punish, He should weep bitterly at being compelled to afflict us His creatures, whom He has loved so dearly as to give up His life through love for us. " '
Alas' " says Cornelius a Lapide, "is uttered by one who is lamenting and not insulting; God signifies by this word that He is grieving, and that He is unwilling to punish sinners." No, this God, Who is the Father of mercies, and so much loves us, is not of a disposition to punish and afflict, but rather to pardon and console us. For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of affliction. -----Jer. 29:2. But some one will say, since such is His character, why does
He now punish us? or, at least, appear as if He meant to punish us? Why so? Because He wishes to be merciful towards us: this anger which He now displays is all mercy and patience.
Let us then, my brethren, understand how the Lord at present appears in wrath, not with a view to our punishment, but in order that we may cleanse ourselves of our sins, and thus enable Him to pardon us. Such is the subject of our discourse: GOD THREATENS TO CHASTISE IN ORDER TO DELIVER US FROM CHASTISEMENT.
The threats of men ordinarily proceed from their pride and impotence; whence, if they have it in their power to take vengeance on an object, they threaten nothing, lest they should thereby give their enemies an opportunity of escape. It is only when they want the power to wreak their vengeance that they betake themselves to threats, in order to gratify their passion, by awakening at least the fears of their enemies.
Not so the threats of which God makes use; on the contrary, their nature is quite different. His threats do not arise from His inability to chastise, because He can be avenged when He wills; but He bears with us in order to see us penitent, and thus exempt from punishment. Thou hast mercy upon all because Thou canst do all things, and winkest at the sins of men for the sake of repentance. -----Wisd. 11:24.
Neither does He threaten from hatred, in order to torment us with fear; God threatens from love, in order that we may be converted to Him, and thereby escape chastisement: He threatens, because He does not wish to see us lost: He threatens, in fine, because He loves our souls. But Thou sparest all because they are Thine, O Lord, Who lovest souls. -----Wisd. 11:27. He threatens; but notwithstanding bears with us and delays the infliction, because He wishes to see us converted, not lost. He dealeth patiently for your sake, not willing that any should perish, but that all should return to penance. -----2 Pet. 3:9. Thus the threats of God are all acts of tenderness, and amorous calls of His goodness, by which He means to save us from the punishment which we deserve.
Yet forty days, exclaimed Jonas, and Nineve shall be destroyed. -----Jonas 3:4. Wretched Ninevites, he cries, the day of your chastisement is come; I announce it to you on the part of God: Know that within forty days Nineve shall be destroyed, and cease to exist. But how comes it that Nineve did penance and was not destroyed? And God saw their works, that they were turned from their evil way, and God had mercy. -----Jonas 3:10
Whereat Jonas was afflicted, and making lamentation before the Lord, said to Him: Therefore, I went before Thee into Tarsis, for I knew that Thou art a gracious and merciful God, patient and of much compassion, and easy to forgive evil. -----Jonas 4:2. He then left Nineve, and was screened from the rays of the burning sun by an ivy which God caused to overshadow his head. But how did the Lord next act?
He withered the ivy, whereat Jonas was so much afflicted that he wished for death. God then said to him, Thou hast grieved for the ivy for which Thou hast not labored, nor made it to grow; . . . and shall not I spare Nineve? -----Jonas 4:10. Thou grievest for the ivy which thou hast not created, and shall not I pardon the men who are the work of My hands?
More coming soon...