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We must be patient and merciful toward the sinner, if we wish that our long-suffering God be merciful to us.
The great compassion of Blessed Alexander, Patriarch of Antioch, was proverbial. One of his scribes stole several gold pieces and fled to the Thebaid. Robbers captured him in the wilderness and took him with them. Learning of this, Alexander sent them eighty-five gold pieces as a ransom. That is why it was said: “The mercy of Alexander cannot be overcome by any sin.” St. John the Merciful writes: “The long-suffering of God is unchangeable, as is His kind mercy… How many criminals who go out to kill and rob does He conceal, so that they may not be captured and tortured? Pirates sail the sea, yet God does not order the sea to drown them. How many falsely swear by Holy Communion, and He is patient, not immediately repaying them evil for evil? Highwaymen rob citizens on the road, yet He does not give them over to the beasts to tear them to pieces… Libertines go off with prostitutes, and He is patient.