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Wednesday. [I Tim. 1:18-20, 2:8-15; Luke 15:1-10] The parable about the stray sheep and the lost silver piece. How great is the Lord’s mercy toward us sinners! He leaves all those who are proper and turns to the improper to correct them; He seeks them, and when He finds them, He Himself rejoices and calls all the heavens to rejoice with Him. How is it that He seeks them? Does He not know where we are who have stepped away from Him? He knows and sees all; but if it were only a matter of taking and transferring them to His own, all sinners would immediately reappear in the same ranks. But one must first dispose them to repentance, so that their conversion and return to the Lord would be free; and this cannot be done by command or other external order. The Lord seeks a sinner by guiding him to repentance. He arranges everything around him so that the sinner comes to his senses, and, seeing the abyss into which he has been rushing, returns. All the circumstances of life are directed in this way, all meetings with moments of sorrow and joy, even words and looks. And the inner actions of God through the conscience and other right thoughts lying in the heart never cease. How much is done to convert sinners to the path of virtue, while sinners still remain sinners!… The enemy covers them in darkness and they think that everything is all right, and all will pass. If worries arise they say, “Tomorrow I will stop,” and remain in their former state. Thus day after day passes; indifference to their salvation grows and grows. A bit more and it will harden into sin. Who knows if conversion will come?