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Mercy for all


One night a woman who was a social outcast and a great sinner was passing a church, and seeing a group of people going in, she joined them. There was a vesper service and then a sermon on God’s goodness to sinners. In the course of his remarks the preacher repeated often and with emphasis: “With God there is mercy and pardon even for the worst sinners, if they will only repent.” When the congregation had dispersed the woman lingered and approaching the priest, said, “Father, will you listen to the story of my life and then tell me if there is any hope of pardon for me?” He asked her to enter the confessional and there the poor woman, the victim of another’s malice rather than her own, poured out her confession and her heartfelt sorrow. Since the night was bitterly cold and a return to her home was out of the question, she was permitted to stay overnight in the warm church. There in the morning, at the foot of the statue of Jesus, they found her dead body, with a smile of thankfulness and peace on her poor worn features.

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