One Fatal Moment, Eternity depends on it!

4last.jpg (224113 bytes)
The Four Last Things and the Seven Deadly Sins - by BOSCH, Hieronymus - from Museo del Prado, Madrid . . . . . . .
The circular layout with God in the centre represents God's all seeing eye: No sin goes unnoticed. In the corners
of the image appear the "Four Last Things" (the last four stages of life): Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell.

 

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

 

 One Fatal Moment, Eternity depends on it!


by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

How great is the folly of those who, for the miserable and transitory delights of this short life, expose themselves to the danger of an unhappy death, and, afterwards, of an unhappy eternity. Oh! How important is that last moment, that last gasp, the last closing of the scene! On it depends an eternity either of all delights or of all torments - a life of eternal happiness or of everlasting woe. Let us consider that Jesus Christ submitted to a cruel and ignominious death in order to obtain for us the grace of a good death. That we may at that last moment die in the grace of God, is the reason why He gives us so many calls and so many lights, and admonishes us by so many threats.

Antisthenes, though a pagan, being asked what was the greatest blessing which man could receive in this world, answered, "a good death". And what will a Christian say, who knows by faith that at the moment of death eternity begins, and that at that moment he lays hold of one of two wheels, which draws with it either eternal joy or everlasting torments? If there were two tickets in a lottery, on one of which might be written Hell and on the other Heaven, what care would you not take to draw that which would give you a right to Paradise, and to avoid the other, by which you would win a place in Hell! O God! How the hands of those unhappy men tremble who are condemned to throw the die on which their life or death depends! How great will be your terror at the approach of that last hour, when you will say: "On this moment depends my life or death for eternity; on this depends whether I shall be forever happy or forever in despair!Saint Bernardine of Siena relates that at death a certain prince exclaimed with trembling and dismay: "Behold I have so many kingdoms and palaces in this world; but if I die this night I know not what apartment shall be assigned to me!"

Brother, if you believe that you must die, that there is an eternity, that you can die only once and that if you then err your error will be forever irreparable, why do you not resolve to begin at this moment to do all in your power to secure a good death? Saint Andrew Avellino said with trembling: Who knows what will be my lot in the next life? Shall I be saved or damned?

The thought of the uncertainty of being damned or saved filled Saint Louis Bertrand with so much terror that he could not sleep at night because of this thought which would suggest itself to him: "Who knows whether thou wilt be lost?" And will not you, who have committed so many sins, tremble? Oh! Hasten to apply a remedy in time; resolve to give yourself sincerely to God, and begin from this moment a life which, at the hour of death, will be to you a source, not of affliction, but of consolation. Give yourself eternal salvation, and be persuaded that to secure eternal life no precaution can be too great.

 

Prayer

O Eternal Father, I abhor and detest, above all evils, the injuries I have done Thee. Have mercy on me for the sake of Jesus Christ. Look at Thy Son dead on the Cross. May His Blood flow upon me, and wash my soul! O King of my heart, Thy kingdom come!

I am resolved to banish every affection which is not for Thee. I love Thee above all things; come and reign in my soul with undivided sway. Grant that I may love Thee, and love nothing but Thee. I desire to please Thee to the utmost of my ability, and to do Thy Will in all things during the remainder of my life. Bless, O my Father, this my desire, and grant me the grace to keep myself always united to Thee. All my affections I consecrate to Thee, and from this day forward I wish to belong to Thee alone, my treasure, my peace, my hope, my love, my all. I hope for all graces through the merits of Thy Son.

Mary, my queen and mother, assist me by thy intercession. Mother of God! Pray for me.

Amen