On the Importance of Salvation

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 (4) Stages of Life): 'Death', 'Judgment', 'Heaven', and 'Hell'.


"He sent them into His Vineyard" - Matthew 20:2.


On the Importance of Salvation

by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

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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 (∞).


First Point
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 Holy Death.

"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.


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 aeternum est.

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!

hellisso.gif (7904 bytes) 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 (∞) Miserable.


- 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.

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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 Desires.

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 Fathers.

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.


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Many Miracles have been attributed to this Daily Prayer.
Make this Prayer known everywhere . . .


Consecration to God thru Mary