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of the height of folly who is inattentive to the salvation of his soul. Let us arouse our faith: it is certain that, after this short life, another life awaits us, which will be either eternally happy or eternally miserable. God has given us to choose which we will: Before man is life and death......that which he shall choose shall be given him. Eccl. xv. 18. Ah! let us make such a choice now as we shall not have to repent of for all eternity. O God, make me sensible of the great wrong I have done thee in offending thee and renouncing thee for the love of creatures. I am sorry with my whole heart for having despised thee, my sovereign good; do not reject me now that I return to thee. I love thee above all things, and for the future I will lose all things rather than forfeit thy grace. Through the love which thou hast shown me in dying for me, succour me with thy help, and do not abandon me. O Mary, mother of God, be you my advocate.
On the frequent thought of death.
I. MEN who are attached to this world endeavour to banish the thoughts of death from their minds, as though, by avoiding the remembrance of death, they could avoid death itself. But no; by banishing the thoughts of death from their minds, they expose themselves to greater danger of making an evil end. There is no alternative: sooner or later we must die; and what is still more we can die but once; and if once we be lost, we shall be lost for ever. My God, I give thee thanks for having enlightened me. I have already lost too many years in offending thee; but I will now
spend the remainder of my life entirely in thy service. Command me what thou willest, for I desire to please thee in all things.
II. Holy anchorets, who formerly fled from the world into deserts in order to secure for themselves a happy death, took nothing with them but some spiritual book and a skull, by the sight of which they might continually keep up in their minds the remembrance of their last end. They meditated upon it, saying: As the bones of him to whom this skull belonged, so will the bones of my body one day be: and my soul, who knows where that shall dwell? And thus they endeavoured to gain not the goods of this life, but of that life which will never end. I give thee thanks, O Lord, for not having suffered me to die when I was in the state of sin. I am sorry for having offended thee, and hope, through thy precious blood, for mercy and pardon. I desire, O Jesus, to renounce all things, and to do my utmost to please thee.
III. A certain hermit, being at the point of death, was observed to smile, and being asked why he was so cheerful, answered: I have always kept death before my eyes, and hence, now that it is come it does not alarm me. The approach of death, therefore, is terrible to those only, who have thought of nothing but of gratifying themselves during their life time, and have never thought of their last end; but it is not terrible to those, who by frequently thinking upon it, have learnt to despise all earthly goods, and to love nothing but God. Oh! my Saviour, I perceive that death is already approaching towards me, and as yet I have done nothing for thee, who didst die for me. No, before death, I will, O God, love thee, who art worthy of infinite love. I have hitherto dishonoured thee by the offences which I have committed against thee; but I am sorry for them with my whole heart. For the
future I will honour thee, by loving thee to the utmost of my power. Give me light and strength to do so. Thou wouldst have me be wholly thine, and such do I desire to be. Help me by thy grace; in thee do I confide. And in you also do I confide, O Mary, my mother, and my hope.
On turning away from God by sin.
I. ST. AUGUSTIN and St.Thomas define mortal sin to be a turning away from God: that is, turning one's back upon God, leaving the Creator for the sake of the creature. What punishment would that subject deserve who, while his king was giving him a command, contemptuously turned his back upon him to go and transgress his orders? This is what the sinner does; and this is punished in hell with the pain of loss, that is, the loss of God, a punishment richly deserved by him who in this life turns his back upon his Sovereign good. Alas! my God, I have frequently turned my back upon thee; but I see that thou hast not yet abandoned me; I see that thou approachest me, and inviting me to repentance, dost offer me thy pardon. I am sorry above every evil for having offended thee, do thou have pity on me.
II. Thou hast forsaken me, saith the Lord, thou hast gone backward. Jer. xv. 6. God complains and says: Ungrateful soul, thou hast forsaken me! I should never have forsaken thee, hadst not thou first turned thy back upon me: thou hast gone backward. O God, with what consternation will these words fill the soul of the sinner when he shall stand to be judged before thy divine tribunal! Thou mak
est me hear them now, O my Saviour, not to condemn me, but to bring me to sorrow for the offences I have committed against thee. Yes, O Jesus, I sincerely repent of all the displeasure which I have given thee. For my own miserable gratifications I have forsaken thee, my God, my sovereign infinite good! But behold me a penitent returned to thee; and reject me not.
III. Why will you die, O house of Israel? return ye and live. Ez. xviii. 31, 32. I have died, says Jesus Christ, for the salvation of your souls, and why will you condemn them by your sins to eternal death? Return to me, and you shall recover the life of my grace. O Jesus, I should not dare to crave thy pardon, did I not know that thou hast died to obtain my forgiveness. Alas! how often have I despised thy grace and thy love! O that I had died rather than ever offered thee so great an injury! But thou, who didst come near to me even when I offended thee, wilt not now reject me, when I love thee and seek no other but thee. My God and my all, suffer me not any more to be ungrateful to thee. Mary, queen, and mother, obtain for me the grace of holy perseverance.
On the mercy of God in calling sinners to repentance.
I. THE Lord called to Adam, and said to him : Where art thou? Gen. iii. 10. These are the words of a father, says a pious author, going in quest of his lost son. Ŏ the immense compassion of our God! Adam sins, he turns his back upon God; and yet God does not abandon him, but follows him and calls after him: Adam, where art thou?
Thus, my soul, has God frequently done towards thee; thou hadst forsaken him by sin; but he did not hesitate to approach thee, and to call upon thee by many interior lights, by remorse of conscience, and by his holy inspirations; all which were the effects of his compassion and love. O God of mercy, O God of love, how could I have so grievously offended thee, how could I have been so ungrateful to thee!
II. As a father when he beholds his son hastening to cast himself down from the brink of a precipice, presses forward towards him, and with tears endeavours to withhold him from destruction; so, my God, hast thou done towards me. I was already hastening by my sins to precipitate myself into hell, and thou didst hold me back. I am now sensible, O Lord, of the love which thou hast shown me, and I hope to sing for ever in heaven the praises of thy mercy: The mercies of the Lord I will sing for ever. Ps. lxxxviii. 1. I know, O Jesus, that thou desirest my salvation; but I do not know whether thou hast yet pardoned me. Oh! give me intense sorrow for my sins, give me an ardent love for thee, as signs of thy merciful forgiveness.
III. O, my Saviour, how can I doubt of receiving thy pardon, when thou thyself dost offer it to me, and art ready to receive me with open arms on my return to thee? Wherefore I do return to thee, sorrowing and overpowered at the consideration that after all my offences against thee, thou indeed still lovest me. Oh! that I had never displeased thee, my sovereign good! how much am I grieved for having done so! Pardon me, O Jesus, I will never more offend thee. But I shall not be able to rest satisfied with thy forgiveness only, give me also a great love for thee. Having so often de
served to burn in the fire of hell, I now desire to
burn in the fire of thy holy love.
I love thee, who