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fying my senses, have I renounced thy friendship! O that I had died rather than have thus dishonoured thee! Have pity on me.
III. All mankind being assembled together, will be summoned by angels to appear in the valley of Josaphat, there to be publicly judged before all: Nations, nations in the valley of destruction. Joel, iii.
O my God, and must I appear in that valley? in what place shall I stand there? with the elect in glory, or with the reprobate in chains? My beloved Redeemer, thy precious blood is my only hope. Woe to me, how often have I deserved to be condemned to dwell for ever in hell, far far from thee, without being able to love thee! No, my Jesus, I will love thee for ever, in this life and in the next. Permit me not to be ever again separated from thee by sin. Thou knowest my weakness; be thou always my help, O Jesus, and do not abandon me. Mary, my advocate, obtain for me the gift of holy perseverance.
On the love of God in giving us his Son.
I. SO great was God's love for us, that after having loaded us with gifts and graces, he bestowed upon us his own Son: God so loved the world as to give his only begotten Son. St. John, iii. 16. For us poor miserable worms of the earth, the eternal Father sent his beloved Son into this world to lead a poor and despised life, and to undergo the most ignominious and bitter death, that any mortal on earth had ever suffered, an accumulation of internal as well as external torments, such as to cause him to exclaim when dying: My God, my God,
why hast thou forsaken me? O eternal God, who but thyself, who art a God of infinite love, could have bestowed upon us a gift of such infinite value? I love thee, O infinite goodness, I love thee, O infinite love.
II. He spared not even his own son: but delivered him up for us all. Rom. viii. 32. But, O God eternal, consider that this divine Son, whom thou dost doom to die, is innocent, and has ever been obedient to thee in all things: thou lovest him even as thyself, how then canst thou condemn him to death for the expiation of our sins? The eternal Father replies: It was precisely because he was my Son, because he was innocent, because he was obedient to me in all things, that it was my will he should lay down his life, in order that you might know the greatness of that love which we both bear towards you. May all creatures for ever praise thee, O God, for the excess of bounty through which thou hast caused thine own Son to die for the deliverance of us thy servants. For the love of this thy Son, have pity on me, pardon me, and save me; and let my salvation be to love thee for ever, both in this world and in the next.
III. But God, (who is rich in mercy) for his too great charity wherewith he loved us, hath quickened us together in Christ. Eph. ii. 4. Too great, says the Apostle, too great has been the love of God towards us. We by sin were dead, and he raised us to life again by the death of his Son. But no, such love was not too great for the infinite bounty of our God. Being infinite in all perfection, he was infinite in love. But, O Lord, how comes it that after thou hast shown such love towards men, there are so few who love thee? How much do I desire to become one of the number of these few! Hitherto I have not known thee, my sovereign good, but have forsaken thee; I am sorry for it from the
bottom of my heart, and will so love thee, that though all should leave thee, I will never forsake thee, my God, my love, and my all. O Mary, unite me ever more and more to my dearest Saviour.
On labouring in earnest to secure Eternal Salvation.
I. TO be saved it is not sufficient to profess merely to do what is absolutely necessary. If, for example, a person wish to avoid only mortal sins, without making any account of those which are venial, he will easily fall into mortal sins and lose his soul. He who desires to avoid only such dangers as are absolutely the immediate occasions of sin, will most probably one day discover that he has fallen into grievous crimes and is lost. O God, with what attention are the princes of this world served! every thing is avoided that can possibly give them the least offence for fear of losing their favour; but with what carelessness art thou served! Every thing that can endanger the life of the body is shunned with the greatest caution; while the dangers which threaten the life of the soul are not feared! O God, how negligently have I hitherto served thee! Henceforth I will serve thee with the greatest attention; be thou my helper and assist me.
II. Christian Brother, if God should act as sparingly with thee as thou dost with him, what would become of thee? If he should grant thee only grace barely sufficient, wouldst thou be saved? Thou wouldst be able to obtain salvation, but thou wouldst not obtain it; because in this life temptations frequently occur so violent as that it is mor
ally impossible not to yield to them without a special assistance from God. But God does not afford his special assistance to those who deal sparingly with him: He who soweth sparingly, shall also reap sparingly. 2 Cor. ix. 6. But, O God, thou hast not dealt sparingly with me: while I have been so ungrateful towards thee as to repay thy many favours with offences, thou, instead of chastising me, hast redoubled thy graces towards me. No, my God, I will never more be ungrateful to thee, as I have hitherto been.
III. To obtain salvation is not an easy task, but difficult and very difficult. We carry about us the rebellious flesh, which allures us to the gratification of sense, and we have moreover numberless enemies to contend with in the world, in hell, and within our ownselves, who are ever tempting us to evil. It is true the grace of God is never wanting to us, but still this grace requires us to struggle hard to overcome temptations, and to pray fervently to obtain more powerful assistance, as the danger becomes greater. O Jesus, I desire never more to be separated from thee and deprived of thy love. Hitherto I have been ungrateful to thee, and have turned my back upon thee, but will now love thee with my whole soul, and fear nothing so much as to cease to love thee. Thou knowest my weakness; assist me therefore, thou who art my only hope and confidence. And thou, O ever blessed Virgin Mary, cease not to intercede for me.
On the appearance of the body immediately after death.
I. "REMEMBER man that thou art dust, and "into dust thou shalt return." At present thou canst see, feel, speak and move. The day will come when thou wilt no longer see, nor feel, nor speak, nor move. When thy soul shall be separated from thy body, thy body will be consumed by worms and will moulder into dust; and thy soul will go into eternity to be happy or miserable according as thou hast deserved by the actions of thy life. O God, I have deserved only thy displeasure and the punishments of hell; but thou wouldst not have me despair, but repent and love thee and place all my hopes in thee.
II. Figure to thyself the body of one whose soul has just departed. Look on his corpse still remaining on the bed: the head fallen upon the chest, the hair in disorder and still bathed in the cold sweat of death, the eyes sunk, the cheeks fallen in, the face of the colour of ashes, the lips and tongue black; so as to be loathsome and frightful to every beholder. See, dear Christian, to what a state thy body will shortly be reduced which thou now treatest with so much indulgence. O my God, I will no longer resist thy gracious calls. What now remains of the many gratifications with which I have indulged my body, but remorse of conscience which continually torments me? O that I had rather died than ever offended thee!
III. When the body begins to corrupt it becomes still more horrible. Twenty-four hours have scarcely elapsed since that young person died, and already his corpse begins to be offensive. The windows of the apartment must be opened, and perfumes em