Treatises by Saint Alphonsus Liguori
On the Four Last Things
from the Transalpine Redemptorists
Advantages of Deep Meditation on The Four Last
from the Catechism of Trent
But in order that the faithful may
appreciate the fruit
they derive from a knowledge of so many and such exalted mysteries, it is necessary, first
of all, to point out that to God,
hidden these things from the wise
and made them known to little ones, we owe a debt of
boundless gratitude. How many men, eminent for wisdom or
endowed with singular learning, who ever remained blind to this most certain
truth ! The fact, then, that He
has made known to us these truths, although
we could never have aspired to such knowledge,
obliges us to pour forth our gratitude in unceasing praises of His
supreme goodness and clemency.
Another important advantage to be derived
from reflection on this Article is that in it we shall find consolation
both for ourselves and others when we mourn
the death of those who were endeared to us
by relationship or friendship. Such was the consolation
which the Apostle himself gave the Thessalonians when
writing to them concerning those who are asleep.
Again, in all our afflictions
and calamities the thought of a future resurrection must bring the greatest relief to the troubled
heart, as we learn from the example of holy Job, who supported his afflicted and sorrowing
soul by this one
hope that the day would come when, in the resurrection, he would behold the Lord his God.
The same thought must also prove a powerful incentive to the faithful to use every exertion to lead lives of rectitude and integrity,
unsullied by the defilement of sin.
For if they reflect that those boundless riches
which will follow after the resurrection are
now offered to them as rewards, they will be
easily attracted to the pursuit of virtue
On the other hand, nothing will have greater effect in subduing the passions and withdrawing souls
from sin, than frequently to remind the sinner of the miseries
and torments with which the reprobate will be visited, who on the last day will come forth unto the resurrection of judgment.
The active study of the four last things
and the deep consideration of them,
is the thing that will keep you from sin.
--Saint Thomas More
Bene: Bible verses quoted in these treatises are from the
English Douay-Rheims translation commissioned by the Catholic Church.