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in order to pardon me. Truly, then, am I sorry from the bottom of my heart for having offended thee, my sovereign good; have pity on me, and do not permit me to offend thee any more.
II. God forewarns sinners that they will seek him in death and will not find him: You shall seek and shall not find me. They shall not find him because they will not then seek him through love, but only through the fear of hell; they will seek God without renouncing their affection for sin; and hence they shall not find him. No, my God, I will not wait to seek thee in death, but will seek and desire thee from this moment. I am sorry for having hitherto given thee so much displeasure by seeking to gratify my own inclinations. I am sorry for it, I confess that I have done evil. But thou willest not that the heart that seeks thee should despair, but rejoice: Let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord. Ps. civ. 3. Yes, O Lord, I seek thee and I love thee more than myself.
III. How miserable is the Christian who, before his death, has not spent a good part of his life in bewailing his sins! It is not to be denied that such a man may be converted at his death and obtain salvation; but the mind obscured, the heart hardened, the bad habits formed, the passions predominant, render it morally impossible for him to die happily. An extraordinary grace will be necessary for him; but does God reserve such a grace to bestow it upon one who has continued ungrateful to him even until the moment of death? O God, to what straits are sinners reduced to escape eternal destruction. No, my God, I will not wait until death to repent of my sins and to love thee. I am sorry now for having offended thee; now do I love thee with my whole heart. Suffer me not any more to turn my back upon thee, rather let me die. O holy mother, Mary, obtain for me perseverance in virtue.
On the Lamb of God sacrificed for our sins.
1. BEHOLD the Lamb of God: thus did the Baptist speak of our Blessed Redeemer, who offered his blood and even his life in sacrifice to obtain our pardon and our eternal salvation. Behold him in the hall of Pilate; as an innocent lamb he permits himself to be shorn, not of wool, but of his sacred flesh, with thorns and scourges. He shall be dumb as a lamb before his shearer, and he shall not open his mouth. Isa. liii. 7. He opens not his mouth, nor does he complain, because he desires to suffer himself the punishments due to our sins. May the angels and all creatures bless thee, O Saviour of the world, for the great mercy and love which thou hast shown towards us. We had committed sins, and thou didst make satisfaction for them!
II. Behold him, bound like a malefactor and surrounded by executioners, conducted to Calvary, there to become the victim of the great sacrifice, by which the work of our redemption is to be accomplished: I was as a meek lamb, that is carried to be a victim. Jer. xi. 19. Whither, O Jesus, do the people conduct thee, loaded with such a cross, after having so cruelly tormented thee? Thou answerest me: they conduct me to death, and I go willingly, because I am going to save thee, and to prove how great my love is towards thee. And how, O my Saviour, have I proved my love towards thee? Thou indeed knowest; by injuries and grievous offences, and by my frequent contempt of thy grace and love. But thy death is my hope. I am sorry, O thou love of my soul, for having offended thee; I am sorry, and will love thee with my whole heart.
III. St. Francis of Assisium, seeing a lamb led to the slaughter, could not refrain from tears, saying, As this lamb is led to the slaughter, so was my innocent Lord conducted for me to the death of the cross. Since then, O Jesus, thou dost not refuse to go to sacrifice thy life for the love of me, shall I refuse to give my whole self for the love of thee? This thou requirest of me: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God. This and this only do I desire: to love thee, and to love thee with my whole heart. Thou hast loved me without any reserve, and so will I love thee. I am sorry for having offended thee, O Lamb of God, and I give my whole self to thee. Accept of me, O Jesus, and make me faithful to thy grace.
O Mary, mother of my Redeemer, make me by your prayers entirely his,
On the value of time.
I. TIME is a treasure of inestimable value, because in every moment of time we may gain an increase of grace and eternal glory. In hell the lost souls are tormented with the thought, and bitterly lament that now there is no more time for them, in which to rescue themselves by repentance from eternal misery. What would they give but for one hour of time to save themselves by an act of true sorrow from destruction! In heaven there is no grief; but if the blessed could grieve, they would do so for having lost so much time during life, in which they might have acquired greater glory, and because time is now no longer theirs. I give thee thanks, O God, for giving me time to bewail my sins, and to make amends by my love for the offences I have committed against thee.
II. Nothing is so precious as time; and yet how comes it that nothing is so little valued? Men will spend hours in jesting, or standing at a window or in the middle of a road, to see what passes: and if yon ask them what they are doing? they will tell you they are passing away time. O time, now so much despised! thou wilt be of all things else the most valued by such persons, when death shall have surprised them. What will they not then be willing to give for one hour of so much lost time! But time will remain no longer for them, when it shall be said to each one of them: Go forth, Christian soul, out of this world: hasten to be gone, for now there is no more time for thee. How will they then exclaim, lamenting: Alas! I have squandered away my whole life; during so many years I might have become a saint; but how far am I from being such; and how shall I become such, now that there is no more time for me! But to what purpose will such lamentations be, when the dying man shall be on the verge of that moment on which will depend eternity?
III. Walk whilst you have the light, John xii. 35, The time of death is the time of night, when nothing can any longer be seen, nor any thing more be accomplished. The night cometh, in which no man can work. Hence the Holy Spirit admonishes us to walk in the way of the Lord, whilst we have the light and the day before us. Can we reflect that the time is near approaching, in which the cause of our eternal salvation is to be decided, and still squander away our time? Let us not delay, but immediately put our accounts in order, because when we least think of it, Jesus Christ will come to judge us. At what hour ye think not, the Son of Hasten then, my Jesus, hasten to And shall I delay? shall I delay
Man will come.
until I am cast into that eternal prison, where with
the rest of the condemned souls, I must for ever lament, saying: The summer is past and we are not saved? No, my Lord, I will no longer resist thy loving invitations. Who knows but that this meditation which I am now reading may be the last I shall ever cast my eyes upon! I am sorry for having offended thee, O sovereign good; to thee do I consecrate the remainder of my days, and beseech thee to grant me holy perseverance. I desire never more to offend thee, but for ever to love thee. O Mary, refuge of sinners, in you do I place my confidence.
On the terrors of the dying man at the thought of approaching judgment.
I. CONSIDER the fear which the thought of judgment will cause in the mind of a dying man, when he shall reflect, that in a very short time he must present himself before Jesus Christ, his judge, to render an account of all the actions of his past life. When the awful moment of his passage out of this world into another, out of time into eternity, shall arrive, then will there be nothing so tormenting to him as the sight of his sins. St. Mary Magdalene of Pazzi, being ill, and thinking of judgment, trembled. Her confessor told her not to fear. Ah father, she replied, it is an awful thing to appear before Jesus Christ, as our judge. Such were the sensations of this holy virgin, who was a saint from her infancy. What shall he say who has frequently deserved hell?
II. The abbott Agatho, after many years of penance, trembled, saying: What will become of me,