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and there, and attending only to the amusements which happened to be going on? would you not esteem him mad, or a man who did not believe his impending fate? Are you not every moment advancing towards death? and what do you think of? You know that you must die, and that you can die only once: You believe that after this life another awaits you which will never end; and that this eternal life will be happy or miserable according as your accounts shall be found at the day of your judgment: and how can you believe these truths and attend to any thing else but making preparation for a good death? Enlighten me, O my God, and let the thoughts of death, and of the eternity in which I must dwell, be ever present to my mind.
III. Look at the skeletons heaped up in cemeteries: they are silently saying to you: "What has "happened to us, will soon overtake you." The same is repeated to you by the portraits of your parents who are dead, by the letters of their handwriting, by the rooms, the beds, the clothes which they once possessed and used, but which they have now quitted and left behind for you. All these things remind you of death which is waiting for you. My crucified Jesus, I will not delay to embrace thee till the moment of my death, when thy crucified image will be presented to me; but I will embrace thee now and press thee to my heart. Hitherto I have frequently expelled thee from my soul, but now I love thee more than myself, and am sorry for having despised thee. For the future I will be always thine, and thou shalt be always mine. This is my hope through thy bitter passion and death. And this also do I hope for through your protection, O ever blessed Mary.
On the love with which God receives the repentant sinner.
I. THE kings of the earth reject from their presence their rebellious subjects, when they come to seek for pardon; but Jesus Christ assures us that he will never reject any rebellious sinner that penitently casts himself at his feet: him that cometh to me I will not cast out. St. John vi. 37. He despiseth not the heart that is humble and sorry for having offended him: a contrite and humble heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Ps. 1. I do not, O Jesus, deserve thy pardon for the offences which I have committed against thee, but thou knowest that nothing afflicts me so much as the remembrance of my having offended thee.
II. But how can I be afraid that thou, my God, wilt cast me off, when thou invitest me to return to thee, and offerest me thy pardon? Return to me, and I will receive thee. Jer. iii. 11. How can I doubt, when thou promisest to embrace us, when we are converted to thee? Turn ye to me, and I will turn to you. Zach. i. 3. Do not then, O Lord, turn thy back upon me, for I will renounce all things, and turn myself to thee, my sovereign good. I have offended thee too long, and will now at least love thee.
III. Our good God moreover adds, that if the sinner repent of the evil which he has done, he is willing to forget all his sins: If the wicked do penance ...... living he shall live, and shall not die. I will not remember all his iniquities that he hath done. Ez. xviii. 21, 22. My dear Redeemer! I will never forget my sins, that I may always bewail the evil which I have done against thee; but I trust and hope that thou, as thou hast promised, wilt
soon forget them, and that my past iniquities will not hinder thee from loving me. Hast thou not said that thou lovest those who love thee? Wis. viii. Hitherto I have not loved thee, and have deserved thy hatred; but now I will love thee, and hope that thou wilt no longer reject me; and as thou forgettest what is past, forgive me, unite me to thyself, and never suffer me to be again separated from thee. Mary, assist me by your holy intercession.
On temptations to relapse.
I. CHRISTIAN, when the devil again tempts thee to sin, telling thee that "God is merciful," remember that the Lord "showeth mercy towards "them that fear him," and not to them that despise him. "God is merciful," it is true; yet how many does he daily condemn to the torments of hell! "God is merciful," but he is also just. He is merciful to those who repent of their sins, but not to those who abuse his mercy to offend him the more freely. O God, how often have I done this! how often have I offended thee because thou wast good and merciful!
II. The devil will say to thee: “As he has par"doned thee many past sins, so will he pardon thee 'the sin which thou art now about to commit." No, thou must reply; because he has so often forgiven me, I ought to be the more afraid, that, if I should again offend him, he will no more pardon me, but punish me for all the crimes I have ever committed against him. Attend to the admonition of the Holy Ghost: Say not, I have sinned and what harm hath befallen me? for the most High is a pa
tient rewarder. Eccl. v. 4. O God, how basely have I corresponded with thy favours! Thou hast bestowed graces upon me, and I have requited them with injuries: thou hast loaded me with blessings, and I have insulted and dishonoured thee. But for the future it shall not be so. The more thou hast borne with me, so much the more will I love thee. Do thou assist my weakness.
III. The devil will say to thee: "But dost thou "not see that thou canst not now resist this temp"tation ?" Answer him: but if I do not resist now, how shall I be able to resist afterwards, when I shall have become weaker, and the divine assistance will fail me? Am I to be told that, in proportion as I multiply the number of my sins, God will multiply the number of his graces towards me? Finally, he will say to thee: "But although "thou wert to commit this sin, thou mayest still "be saved." Say to him in reply: I may be saved; but is this a reason why I should write my own sentence of condemnation to hell? I may be saved; but I may also be lost, and this is more probable. This is not an affair to be left to the chance of a may be." But, O Lord, how much hast thou done for me? I have multiplied my faults, and thou hast increased thy graces! The thought of this imbitters my sorrow for having so heniously offended thee. My good God, why have I offended thee? O that I could die of grief! Help me, O Jesus, for I desire to be wholly thine. Holy Mary, obtain for me perseverance in virtue, and suffer me not any more to live ungrateful to God who has so much loved me.
On the Resurrection of the Body.
I. A DAY will come, which will be the last of days, when this world will be no more. Before the coming of the Judge, fire will descend from heaven, and consume every thing that is upon the earth: The earth and the works which are in it shall be burnt up. 2 St. Peter, iii. 10. So that in that day every thing upon the earth will be reduced to ashes. O God, what will all the vanities of this world then appear, for which so many now sacrifice the salvation of their souls. What appearance will all the highest dignities of this earth then make, its purple its crowns and its sceptres? O the folly of those who shall have loved them! And Othe lamentations of those who for the love of such vanities shall have lost their God!
II. The trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall rise again. 1. Cor. xv. 52. This trumpet will call all men together from their graves to come to judgment. O how beautiful and resplendent will the bodies of the just appear! Then shall the just shine like the sun! St. Matt, xiii. 43. On the contrary, how ugly and deformed will the bodies of the reprobate appear! What a torment will it be to these wretched souls to be again united to their bodies, for whose gratification they have lost heaven and lost their God, to be cast with them for ever into hell, there to burn together in eternal flames! Happy shall they then be, who shall have denied their bodies all gratifications displeasing to God; and who, in order to hold them in greater subjection, shall have mortified them by fasting and penance! O Jesus, turn not thy face away from me, as I have deserved. How often, for the sake of grati