On the Importance of Salvation
by Saint Alphonsus Liguori
The 'Vines' of the Lord are our Souls, which
He has given us to 'Cultivate' by Good Works, that we may be One Day admitted-into Eternal
(∞) Glory. "How", says Salvian,
"does it happen that a Christian Believes, and still does not Fear the Future?" Christians Believe
Death, Judgement, Hell, and Paradise; but they Live as if
they Believed them not - as if these Truths of Faith were 'Fables', or the 'Inventions' of Human Genius. Many Live
as if they were never to Die, or as if they had not to-give God an
Account-of their Life - as if there were neither a Hell, nor a Heaven.
Perhaps they do not Believe in them? They Believe, but do not Reflect-on them, and thus they are Lost.
They take all possible-care of Worldly Affairs, but attend not to the Salvation of their
Souls. I shall show you, this Day, that the Salvation of your Souls
is the most-important of all Affairs.
First (1st) Point - Because, if the Soul is
Lost, all is Lost.
Second (2nd) Point - Because if the Soul is
Lost Once (1), it is Lost Forever
Because, if the Soul is Lost, all is Lost
"But", says Saint Paul, "we entreat you, Brethren, that you . . . . that you do
your own Business" - 1Thessalonians 4:10-11. The Greater-Part of Worldlings are most-Attentive to the 'Business'-of this World. What Diligence do
they not employ to Gain a Lawsuit or a Post-of Emolument! How many Means are Adopted; how many Measures, taken! They neither Eat nor Sleep. And
what Efforts do they make to Save their Souls? All Blush
at being told that they Neglect the Affairs-of their Families; and how Few are Ashamed
to Neglect the Salvation of their Souls. Brethren,
says Saint Paul, I entreat you that you do your own Business; that is, the 'Business'-of your own
Eternal (∞) Salvation.
"Nugae puerorum", says Saint Bernard, "nugae vocantur, nugae malorum negotia
vocantur". The Trifles of children are called 'Trifles', but the Trifles of Men are called 'Business'; and for these, many
Lose their Souls. If in One (1) Worldly Transaction, you
Suffer a Loss, you may 'Repair' it in another; but if you Die in
Enmity with God, and Lose your
Soul, how can you 'Repair' the Loss? "What Exchange shall a Man give for his Soul?" -
Matthew 16:26. To those who Neglect the Care-of Salvation, Saint Euterius says:
"Quam pretiosus sis O homo, si Creatori non credis, interroga Redemptorem" - Homily 2. If, from being Created by
God to His Own Image, you do not comprehend the 'Value' of your
Soul, learn it from Jesus Christ, Who has
Redeemed you with His Own Blood. "You were not Redeemed with Corruptible Things as
Gold or Silver . . . But with the Precious Blood of Christ, as of a Lamb Unspotted and Undefiled" - 1Peter 1:18-19.
God, then, sets so-High a 'Value' on your Soul; such too is its 'Value' in the
Estimation-of Satan, that to become Master of it, he does not Sleep, Night
or Day, but is Continually going-about, to make it his own. Hence Saint Augustine exclaims: "The
Enemy is always Awake to Injure you, and you are Asleep". The Enemy is always awake to
Injure you, and you 'Slumber'. Pope Benedict the Twelfth, being asked by a Prince for a Favor, which he could not
Conscientiously Grant, said to the Ambassador: Tell the Prince, that, if I had Two Souls, I might be able to Lose One of them,
in order to Please him; but, since I have but One, I cannot Consent to Lose it. Thus he Refused the Favor which the Prince sought from him.
Brethren, remember that if you Save your Souls, your
Failure in every Worldly Transaction will be but of Little Importance; for if you are
Saved, you shall Enjoy Complete Happiness for all Eternity
(∞). But, if you Lose your Soul,
what will it 'Profit' you, to have Enjoyed all the Riches, Honors, and Amusements of this World? If you Lose your
Soul, all is Lost. "What doth it Profit a Man, if he
Gain the Whole World, and Suffer the Loss of his Own Soul?" - Matthew 16:26. By this Maxim, Saint Ignatius of Loyola drew many
Souls to God, and among them, the Soul of Saint Francis Xavier, who was
then at Paris, and Devoted his Attention-to the Acquirement-of Worldly Goods. One day, Saint Ignatius said to him: "Francis, whom do
you Serve? You Serve the World, which is a Traitor, that Promises, but does not Perform. And if it should Fulfill all its Promises, how long do
its Goods Last? Can they Last Longer than this Life? And after Death, what will they Profit you, if you shall not have Saved your Soul? He then
reminded Francis of the Maxims of the Gospel: "What doth it Profit a Man, if he Gain the Whole World, and Suffer the Loss of his Own
Soul?"; and, "But One Thing is Necessary" - Luke 10:42. It is not Necessary to become Rich on this Earth,
to Acquire Honors and Dignities; but it is necessary to Save our Souls; because
unless we Gain Heaven, we shall be Condemned to Hell,
there is no 'Middle Place'; we must be either Saved (Heaven) or
Damned (Hell). God has not Created us for
this Earth; neither does He Preserve our Lives, that we may become Rich and Enjoy Amusements. "And
the End, Life Everlasting" - Romans 6:22. He has Created us, and Preserves us, that we may Acquire
Eternal (∞) Glory.
Saint Philip Neri used to say, that he who does not Seek, above all things, the Salvation of his
Soul, is a Fool. If, on this Earth, there were Two (2)
Classes of Men, One (1) 'Mortal', and the Other 'Immortal', and if the
Former saw the Latter, entirely Devoted-to the Acquisition-of Earthly Goods, would they not exclaim: O Fools that you are! you have
it in your Power to Secure the Immense and Eternal Goods of Paradise, and you Lose your Time in procuring the Miserable Goods of this Earth, which shall End
at Death. And for these, you Expose yourselves to the Danger of the Eternal Torments of Hell. Leave to us, for whom all shall End at Death, the Care of these
Earthly Things. But, Brethren, we are all 'Immortal', and each of us shall be Eternally
(∞) Happy or Eternally
(∞) Miserable in the Other Life. But the
Misfortune of the Greater Part of Mankind is, that they are Solicitous-about the 'Present', and never think of the 'Future'.
"O that they would be Wise and would Understand, and would Provide for their Last End" - Deuteronomy 32:29. Oh! that they
knew how to 'Detach' themselves from Present Goods, which Last but a Short Time, and to Provide-for what must happen after Death -
an Eternal (∞) Reign in
Heaven, or Everlasting (∞) Slavery in
Hell. Saint Philip Neri, conversing One Day, with Francis Zazzera, a Young Man of Talent, who expected to make a Fortune
in the World, said to him: You shall realize a Great Fortune; you shall be a Prelate, afterwards a Cardinal, and in the End, perhaps
Pope. But what must follow? what must follow? Go my son, think on these words. The Young Man departed, and after Meditating-on the words,
what must follow? what must follow? he Renounced his Worldly Prospects, and gave himself entirely-to
God; and Retiring-from the World, he entered-into the Congregation-of Saint Philip, and Died a
"The Fashion of this World, Passeth Away" - 1Corinthians 7:31. On this Passage, Cornelius a Lapide says that
"the World is, as it were, a Stage". The Present Life is a Comedy, which Passes-away. Happy the Man who Acts his Part Well in
this Comedy, by Saving his Soul. But if he shall have Spent his Life in the
Acquisition-of Riches and Worldly Honors, he shall Justly be-called a Fool; and at the Hour of
Death, he shall Receive the Reproach addressed-to the Rich Man in the
Gospel: "Thou Fool, this Night do They Require thy Soul of thee: and whose shall Those Things be, which thou hast Provided?" -
Luke 12:20. In explaining the Words - They Require - Toletus says that the Lord has
given us our Souls, to 'Guard' them against the Assaults of our
Enemies; and that at Death, the Angels shall come, to 'Require' them of us,
and shall 'Present' them at the Tribunal of Jesus Christ. But if we have Lost our
Souls, by attending-only to the Acquisition-of Earthly Possessions, these shall belong-to us no-longer, they shall Pass-to
Other Hands; and what shall then become-of our Souls?
Poor Worldlings! of all the Riches which they Acquired, of all the Pomps which they Displayed-in this Life, what shall they find at
Death? "They have Slept their Sleep; and all the Men of Riches have found Nothing in their
Hands" - Psalm 75:6. The Dream of this Present Life shall be over at Death, and they shall have
Acquired Nothing-for Eternity (∞). Ask of
so many Great Men of this Earth, of the Princes and Emperors, who, during Life, have Abounded-in Riches, Honors, and Pleasures, and are at this Moment, in
Hell; what now Remains-of all the Riches which they Possessed-in this World? They answer with
Tears: Nothing, Nothing. And of so many Honors enjoyed; of so many Past Pleasures; of so many Pomps and Triumphs,
what now Remains? They answer with Howling: Nothing, Nothing.
Justly then, has Saint Francis Xavier said, that in the World, there is but
One (1) Good and One (1) Evil. The Former
consists-in Saving our Souls; the Latter in Losing
them. Hence, David said: "One thing I have Asked of the Lord, this will I Seek after; that I may Dwell in the House of the Lord all
the Days of my Life" - Psalm 26:4. One (1) Thing only, have I Sought, and will Forever Seek from
God; that He may Grant me the Grace to
Save my Soul; for if I Save my
Soul, all is Safe; if I Lose it, all is
Lost. And what is More Important; if my Soul be Once (1)
Lost, it is Lost Forever (∞).
Let us Pass-to the Second Point.
If the soul be once lost, it is lost forever
Men Die but Once (1). If a Christian Died
Twice (2), he might Lose his Soul the
First (1st), and Save it the Second (2nd) Time.
But, we can Die only Once (1); if the
Soul be Lost the First (1st) Time, it is
Lost Forever (∞). This Truth,
Saint Teresa frequently Inculcated-to her Nuns: "One Soul", she would say, "One Eternity".
As if she said: We have but One (1) Soul; if this be
Lost, all is Lost. There is but One Eternity; if the
Soul be Once (1) Lost, it is
Lost Forever (∞). Periisse semel
Saint Eucherius says that there is no Error so Great, as the Neglect of
Eternal (∞) Salvation. "Sane
supra omnem errorem est dissimulare negotium aeternae salutis". It is an Error, which surpasses all
Errors, because it is 'Irremediable'. Other Mistakes may be Repaired; if a Person loses Property in One-Way, he may Acquire it in Another; if he Loses
a 'Situation', a 'Dignity', he may afterwards Recover them; if he Loses his Life, provided his Soul be
Saved, all is Safe. But, he who Loses his
Soul, has no Means-of Repairing the Loss. The Wailing of the
Damned, arises-from the Thought, that for them, the Time of
Salvation is over, and there is no Hope of Remedy for their
Eternal (∞) Ruin. "The
Harvest is Past, the Summer is Ended, and we are not Saved" - Jeremiah 8:20. Hence they Weep, and shall Inconsolably
Weep, Forever (∞), saying:
"Therefore we have Erred from the Way of Truth, and the Light of Justice hath not Shined unto us, and the Sun of Understanding hath not
Risen upon us" - Wisdom 5:6. But what will it Profit them to know the Error they have committed, when it will be
too-late to Repair it?
The Greatest Torment of the Damned, arises-from the Thought-of having
Lost their Souls, and of having Lost them
through their own Fault. "Destruction is thy Own, O Israel: thy Help is only in Me" -
Hosea 13:9. O Miserable Being! God says to each of the
Damned: thy Perdition is thine own, that is from thyself; by Sin, thou
hast been the cause-of thy Damnation, for I was Ready-to
Save thee, if thou hadst Wished to Attend-to thy Salvation. Saint Teresa used to say that, when a Person loses a
Trifle through Negligence, his Peace is Disturbed by the Thought-of having Lost it
through his own Fault. O God! what shall be the Pain which each of the
Damned shall Feel, on entering-into Hell, at the Thought-of having
Lost his Soul - his all - and having Lost them through his own Fault!
We must then, from this day forward, devote all our Attention-to the Salvation of our
Souls. There is not Question, says Saint John Chrysostom, of losing some Earthly Good which we must one day Relinquish. But there is
Question of Losing Paradise, and of going-to Suffer
Forever (∞) in Hell. "De
immortalibus suppliciis, de coelestis regni amissione res agitur". We must Fear and
Tremble; it is thus we shall be able to-secure Eternal (∞)
Happiness. "Wherefore, my Dearly Beloved, with Fear and Trembling, work out your Salvation" -
Philippians 2:12. Hence, if we wish to Save our Souls, we must Labor Strenuously to avoid
Dangerous Occasions, to Resist Temptations, and to Frequent the
Sacraments. Without Labor, we cannot obtain Heaven. "The
Violent bear it away". The Saints Trembled at the Thought-of Eternity
(∞). Saint Andrew Avellino exclaimed with Tears: Who
knows whether I shall be Saved or Damned? Saint Lewis Bertrand said with Trembling: What shall
be my Lot in the Other World? And shall we not Tremble? Let us Pray to
Jesus Christ and His most Holy Mother, to Help us to
Save our Souls. This is for us the Most Important of all Affairs; if we Succeed in it, we
shall be Eternally (∞) Happy; if we
Fail, we must be Forever (∞)
- End of Liguori Sermon -
Prayer for the Graces Necessary for Salvation
Eternal Father, Your Son has Promised that You will Grant us all the Graces which we ask for in His Name. In the Name and
Merits of Jesus Christ, I ask the following Graces for myself and for all Mankind. Please give me a Lively Faith in all that the Church Teaches.
Enlighten me, that I may know the Vanity of the Goods of this World, and the Immensity of the Infinite Good that You are. Make me also see the
Deformity of the Sins I have Committed, that I may Humble myself and Detest them as I should.
Give me a Firm Confidence of Receiving Pardon for my Sins, Holy Perseverance, and the Glory of Heaven, through the Merits of
Jesus Christ, and the Intercession of Mary. Give me a Great Love for You, that will Detach me from the Love of this World, and of myself, so that I may
Love none other, but You.
I Beg of You a Perfect Resignation to Your Will. I Offer myself entirely to You, that You might do with me, and all that
belongs to me, as You Please.
I Beg of You a Great Sorrow for my Sins.
I ask You to give me the Spirit of True Humility and Meekness, that I may Accept with Peace, and even with Joy, all the
Contempt, Ingratitude and Ill-treatment I may receive. At the same time, I also ask You to give me Perfect Charity, which shall make me wish well to
those who have done Evil to me.
Give me Love for the Virtue of Mortification, by which I may Chastise my Rebellious Senses and oppose my Self-Love. Give me a
Great Confidence in the Passion of Jesus Christ and in the Intercession of Mary Immaculate. Give me a Great Love for the Blessed Sacrament, and a
Tender Devotion and Love to Your Holy Mother. Give me, above all, Holy Perseverance, and the Grace always to Pray for it, especially in Time-of
Temptation, and at the Hour-of Death.
Finally, I recommend to You the Holy Souls of Purgatory, my Relatives and Benefactors, and in a special manner I recommend to
You all those who Hate me or who have in any way Offended me; I Beg You to Render them Good, for the Evil they have done or may wish to do me. Grant
that, by Your Goodness, I may come One Day to sing Your Mercies in Heaven; for my Hope is in the Merits of Your Blood and in the Patronage of Mary.
Mary, Mother of God, Pray to Jesus for me.
Ancient Miraculous Prayer to Saint Joseph
Patron of Departing Souls
This Prayer was found in the Fiftieth Year of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In
1505 it was sent from the Pope to Emperor Charles, when he was going into Battle. Whoever shall Read this Prayer, or Hear it,
or Keep it about themselves, shall never Die a Sudden Death, or be Drowned, nor shall Poison take-effect on them; neither shall they Fall into the
Hands of the Enemy, nor shall they be Burned in any Fire, nor shall they be Overpowered in Battle.
O Saint Joseph, whose Protection is so Great, so Strong, so Prompt before the Throne of God, I Place in you, all my Interests and
O Saint Joseph, do Assist me by your Powerful Intercession, and Obtain for me from your Divine Son, all Spiritual Blessings
through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having Engaged here below your Heavenly Power, I may Offer my Thanksgiving and Homage to the most Loving of
O Saint Joseph, I never Weary Contemplating you and Jesus Asleep in your Arms; I dare not approach while He Reposes near your
Heart. Press Him in my name and Kiss His Fine Head for me, and ask Him to Return the Kiss when I Draw my Dying Breath, Saint Joseph, Patron of Departing
Souls, Pray for us.
Many Miracles have been attributed to this Daily Prayer.
Make this Prayer known everywhere . . .