Let us labor to save our souls
by Saint Alphonsus Liguori
in this picture of death behold yourself and what you must
one day become. "Remember that dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return". Consider that in
a few years, and perhaps in a
few months or days, you will become
worms. By this thought
Job became a saint.
"I have said to rottenness: Thou
art my father: to worms, my mother, and my sister".
All must end;
and if, after death, you
soul, all will be
lost for you. Consider
yourself already dead, says Saint Laurence Justinian, since you know that you must
necessarily die. If you were already
dead, what would you not desire to have
done? Now that you have life, reflect that you will one day be among the
Saint Bonaventure says that to guide the vessel safely, the pilot must remain at
the helm; and in like manner, to lead a good life, a man should always imagine
himself at the hour of death. "Look to the sins of your youth, and be covered
with shame," says Saint Bernard. "Remember the sins of manhood and weep". Look to
the present disorders of your life; tremble, and hasten to apply a remedy.
Camillus de Lellis saw the graves of the
dead, he said within himself:
return to life, what would they not do for eternal glory? And what do I do for
my soul, I who have
time? This the
Saint said through
humility. But my brother,
you, perhaps, have reason to fear that you are the
fruitless fig-tree of which
the Lord said: "Behold, for these three years I come seeking fruit on this
fig-tree, and I find none". You have been in this world for more than
years; what fruit have you produced? Remember, says
Saint Bernard, that the Lord
seeks not only flowers, but fruits; that is, not only
good desires and
resolutions, but also holy works. Learn then to profit of the
His mercy gives you; do not wait until you desire
time to do good, when
shall be no more. Do not wait till you are told, Time shall be no longer;
depart; the time for leaving this world has arrived; what is done, is done.
Behold me, O
my God! I am that tree which deserved for so many years to hear from Thee, “Cut
it down - why cumbereth it the ground?” Yes, for so many
years during which I have been in the world, I have
brought forth no other fruit than the briers and thorns
of sin. But, O Lord! Thou dost not wish that I despair.
Thou hast said to all, that he who seeks Thee shall find
Thee. “Seek and you shall find.” I seek Thee, Oh my God!
And wish for Thy grace. For all the offences I have
offered to Thee I am sorry with my whole heart; I would
wish to die of sorrow for them. Hitherto I have fled
from Thee; but now I prefer Thy friendship to the
possession of all the kingdoms of the earth. I will no
longer resist Thy invitations. Dost Thou wish me to be
all Thine? I give Thee my whole being without reserve.
Thou gavest Thyself entirely to me on the Cross. I give
myself entirely to Thee.
Thou hast said: “If you shall ask
Me anything in My name, that I will do.” My
Jesus, trusting in this great promise, I ask, in Thy name and through Thy
merits, Thy grace and Thy love. Grant that Thy grace and Thy holy love may
abound in my soul, in which sin has abounded. I thank Thee for having given me
grace to make this petition by inspiring the prayer, Thou showest that Thou dost
intend to hear it. Hear me, O my Jesus; give me a great love for Thee; give me a
great desire to please Thee, and give me strength to do Thy will.
O Mary, my
great advocate! Do thou also listen to my cry, and pray to Jesus for me.