Saved in Spite of Himself

St. Vincent Ferrer was remarkable for his confidence in God, which was strikingly illustrated by the following incident.

One day, he was informed that a dying man had fallen into despair, through considering his great sins, and that he had therefore refused to make his confession. He hastened to his bedside with much hope of winning him over.

“My brother,” he said to him, “will you who know that Jesus Christ died for you, despair of His mercy? You would thus grievously slight the great kindness He has shown you.”

These words made the sick man very angry, and he answered, “Just for that I mean to be damned, — in spite of Christ!”

“And in spite of yourself you shall be saved,” replied the Saint.

Then, turning to the bystanders, he said: “Let us recite the Rosary to the Blessed Virgin, to obtain from her the conversion of this most obstinate sinner.”

The Lord was pleased to show how acceptable to Him was the generous confidence of His servant, for, before the Rosary was ended, the room was filled with a brilliant light, and the great Mother of God appeared, with the Infant upon her arm all stained with blood. The hardened sinner was moved with love, grief, and compunction at this sight. He made his confession with heart-felt contrition, and, a little while after, with a look of heavenly joy upon his face, breathed forth his spirit into the hands of God.

Text from A Year With the Saints (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1891).

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