I read St. Alphonsus on this, can you explain?
St. Alphonsus’ sermon On the Number of Sins Beyond Which God Pardons No More is from a different era in history and thus its wording sounds harsher than it probably intended to be. At that time in history, homilies and sermons were typically “over the top” in an effort to make their point and inspire. Secondly, while St. Alphonsus was a great saint, he was not personally infallible.
That being said, the overall point of the sermon was that God always forgives those who are sincerely repentant but that we cannot sin with the presumption that it doesn’t matter because we will later be forgiven. The theme is that sin hardens the heart and kills the soul, therefore to willfully and continuously sin is a downward spiral that leads to eternal damnation.
No one can be found so foolish as to take poison with the hope of preventing its deadly effects by adopting the ordinary remedies. And you will condemn yourself to Hell, saying that you expect to be afterwards preserved from it.
While the title and wording of the sermon are eye/ear catching (which they were probably intended to be) what it ultimately boils down to is we have no idea when we will die. We must live each day and make each choice with the potential it could be out last day. We cannot continuously sin and presume we will be forgiven since we might not get the chance and the longer we sin the less repentant we become.
O folly of sinners! If you purchase a house, you spare no pains to get all the securities necessary to guard against the loss of your money; if you take medicine, you are careful to assure yourself that it cannot injure you; if you pass over a river, you cautiously avoid all danger of falling into it: and for a transitory enjoyment, for the gratification of revenge, for a beastly pleasure, which lasts but a moment, you risk your eternal salvation, saying:* I will go to confession after I commit this sin*. And when, I ask, are you to go to confession? You say: On tomorrow. But who promises you tomorrow?
St. Alphonsus is merely warning against the sin of presumption:
Q. 1183. What is presumption?
A. Presumption is a rash expectation of salvation without making proper use of the necessary means to obtain it.
Q. 1184. How may we be guilty of presumption?**
A. We may be guilty of presumption:[list]
*] By putting off confession when in a state of mortal sin; *] By delaying the amendment of our lives and repentance for past sins; *] By being indifferent about the number of times we yield to any temptation after we have once yielded and broken our resolution to resist it; *]By thinking we can avoid sin without avoiding its near occasion; *]By relying too much on ourselves and neglecting to follow the advice of our confessor in regard to the sins we confess.[/list]