All Ends, and soon Ends

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Lazarus and Dives - by Bonifacio VERONESE - from Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice
(The Lethargic Abandon to the Music, displayed-by the Group in the foreground, is not in the least
Disturbed-by the Presence-of the Beggar, Lazarus, depicted-at the Right, with a Dog licking his Wounds)

 

The Grass of the Field, which is Today, and Tomorrow is
Cast into the Oven - Matthew 6:30

 

All Ends, and soon Ends

by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Behold! all the Goods-of this Earth are like the Grass-of the Field, which Today is Blooming and Beautiful; but in the Evening , it Withers and Loses its Flowers, and Next-Day is Cast-into the Fire. This is what God Commanded the Prophet Isaiah to Preach, when He said to him, "Cry. And I said: What shall I Cry? All Flesh is Grass, and all the Glory thereof, as the Flower of the Field" - Isaiah 40:6. Hence Saint James compares the Rich-of this World to the Flower-of Grass: at the End-of their Journey through Life, they Rot along-with all their Riches and Pomps. "And the Rich, in his being Low; because, as the Flower of the Grass, shall he Pass-away. For the Sun Rose-with a Burning Heat, and Parched the Grass, and the Flower thereof Fell-off, and the Beauty of the Shape thereof Perished: so also shall the Rich Man fade-away in his Ways" - James 1:10-11. They Fade-away and are Cast-into the Fire, like the Rich Glutton, Dives, who made a Splendid Appearance in this Life, but Afterwards "was Buried in Hell" - Luke 16:22. Let us then, Dearly Beloved Christians, Attend-to the Salvation-of our Souls, and to the Acquisition-of Riches for Eternity (∞), which never Ends; for Everything in this World Ends, and Ends very-soon.

 

First Point
Everything Ends

When One-of the Great-of this World, is in Full Enjoyment of the Riches and Honors which he has acquired, Death shall come, and he shall be told, "Take Order with thy House, for thou shalt Die, and not Live" - Isaiah 38:1. Oh! what Doleful Tidings! The Unhappy Man must then say: Farewell, O World! Farewell, O Villa! Farewell, O Grotto! Farewell, Relatives! Farewell, Friends! Farewell, Sports! Farewell, Balls! Farewell, Comedies! Farewell, Banquets! Farewell, Honors! all is Over for me. There is no Remedy; whether he Will or not, he must Leave all. "For when he shall Die, he shall take Nothing away; nor shall his Glory descend-with him" - Psalm 48:18. Saint Bernard says, that Death produces a Horrible Separation-of the Soul from the Body, and from all things of this Earth. "Opus mortis horrendum divortium" - Sermon 26. To the Great of this World, whom Worldlings regard as the most Fortunate-of Mortals, the Bare Name of Death is so Full-of Bitterness, that they are Unwilling even to Hear it mentioned; for their Entire Concern is to find Peace, in their Earthly Goods. "O Death!", says Ecclesiasticus, "how Bitter is the Remembrance of thee, to a Man that hath Peace in his Possessions" - Ecclesiasticus 41:1. But, how much Greater Bitterness shall Death itself Cause, when it Actually Comes! Miserable the Man, who is Attached-to the Goods-of this World! Every Separation produces Pain. Hence, when the Soul shall be Separated, by the Stroke-of Death, from the Goods on which She had Fixed all Her Affections, the Pain must be Excruciating. It was this that made King Agag exclaim, when the News-of approaching Death was Announced-to him, "Doth Bitter Death, separate-in this Manner?" - 1Kings 15:32. The Great Misfortune of Worldlings is, that when they are on the Point-of being Summoned-to Judgment, instead-of Endeavoring-to Adjust the Accounts-of their Soul, they Direct all their Attention-to Earthly things. But, says Saint John Chrysostom, the Punishment which Awaits Sinners, on-account-of having Forgotten God during Life, is that they Forget themselves at the Hour-of Death. "Hae animadversione percutitur impius, ut moriens obliviscatur sui, qui vivens oblitus est Dei".

But how Great soever, a Man's Attachment-to the Things of this World may be, he must Take Leave-of them, at Death. Naked, he has Entered-into this World, and Naked, he shall Depart-from it. "Naked", says Job, "Came I out of my Mother's Womb, and Naked, shall I Return thither" - Job 1:21. In a Word, they who have Spent their Whole Life, have Lost their Sleep, their Health, and their Soul, in accumulating Riches and Possesions, shall take Nothing with them at the Hour-of Death; their Eyes shall then be-Opened; and of all they had so Dearly Acquired, they shall find Nothing in their Hands. Hence, on that Night-of Confusion, they shall be Overwhelmed-in a Tempest of Pains and Sadness. "The Rich Man, when he shall Sleep, shall take-away Nothing with him: he shall Open his Eyes and find Nothing. Poverty, like Water, shall take-hold on him, a Tempest shall Oppress him in the Night" - Job 27:19-20. Saint Antonine relates that Saladin, King-of the Saracens, gave Orders at the Hour-of Death, that the Winding-Sheet in which he was to be Buried, should be carried-before him to the Grave, and that a Person should Cry-out: Of all his Possessions, this only, shall Saladin bring with him. The Saint also relates, that a certain Philosopher, speaking of Alexander-the-Great, after his Death, said: Behold the Man that made the Earth Tremble. "The Earth", as the Scripture says, "was Quiet before him" - 1Machabees 1:3. He is now under the Earth. Behold the Man whom the Dominion-of the Whole World would not Satisfy; now Four (4) Palms-of-Ground are Sufficient-for him. "Qui terram heri conculcabat, hodie ab ea conculcatur; et cui heri non sufficiebat mundus hodie sufficiunt quatuor ulnae terrae". Saint Augustine, or some other Ancient Writer says, that having gone to see the Tomb-of Caesar, he Exclaimed: "Princes Feared thee, Cities Worshipped thee, all Trembled before thee, where is thy Magnificence gone?" - Sermon 38. Listen to what David says, "I have seen the Wicked Highly Exalted, and Lifted-up like the Cedars-of-Libanus. And I passed-by, and lo, he was not" - Psalm 36:35-36. Oh! how many such Spectacles are seen every Day, in the World! A Sinner who had been born-in Lowliness and Poverty, afterwards acquires Wealth and Honors , so as to Excite the Envy of all. When he Dies, everyone says, He made a Fortune in the World; but now he is Dead, and with Death, all is over for him.

"Why is Earth and Ashes Proud?" - Ecclesiasticus 10:9. Such the Language which the Lord addresses-to the Man who is Puffed-up by Earthly Honors and Earthly Riches. Miserable Creature, He says, whence comes such Pride? If you enjoy Honors and Riches, remember that you are Dust. "For Dust thou art, and into Dust thou shalt return" - Genesis 3:19. You must Die, and after Death, what Advantage shall you Derive-from the Honors and Possessions which now Inflate you with Pride? Go, says Saint Ambrose, go to a Cemetery, in which are Buried the Rich and Poor, and see if you can Discern-among them, who has been Rich, and who has been Poor; all are Naked, and Nothing remains-of the Richest among them, but a few Withered Bones. "Respice sepulchra, dic mihi, quis ibi dives, quis pauper sit". How Profitable would the Remembrance-of Death be to the Man, who Lives-in the World! "He shall be Brought to the Graves, and shall Watch in the Heap-of the Dead" - Job 21:32. At the Sight-of these Dead Bodies, he would remember Death, and that he shall be One Day like them. Thus, he should be Awakened-from the Deadly Sleep in which perhaps he Lives-in a State of Perdition. But, the Misfortune is, that Worldlings are Unwilling-to Think-of Death, until the Hour comes when they must Depart-from this Earth, to go to Eternity (∞); and therefore they Live-as Attached-to the World, as if they were never to be Separated-from it. But, our Life is Short, and shall soon End; thus, all things must End, and must soon End.

 

Second Point
All soon Ends

Men Know-well, and Believe-firmly, that they shall Die; but they Imagine Death as Far-off, as if it were never to-Arrive. But Job tells us that the Life-of Man is Short. "Man, Born of a Woman, Living for a Short Time, is Filled-with many Miseries. Who cometh-forth like a Flower, and is Destroyed" - Job 14:1-2. At Present, the Health-of Men is so much Impaired, that as we see by Experience, the Greater Number-of them Die before they attain the Age-of Seventy (70). And what, says Saint James, is our Life, but a Vapor, which a Blast-of Wind, a Fever, a Stroke of Apoplexy, a Puncture, an Attack-of the Chest, Causes-to Disappear , and which is seen no-more? "For what is your Life? It is a Vapor which Appeareth for a little while, and afterwards shall Vanish away" - James 4:15. "We all Die", said the Woman of Thecua to David, "and like Waters that return no more, we Fall down into the Earth" - 2Kings 14:14. She Spoke the Truth; as all Rivers and Streams Run-to the Sea, and as the Gliding Waters return no-more, so our Days Pass-away, and we Approach-to Death.

They Pass, they Pass quickly. "My Days have been Swifter than a Post" - Job 9:25. Death comes to meet us, and runs more-swiftly than a Post, so that every-Step we make, every-Breath we draw, we approach-to Death. Saint Jerome felt, that even while he was Writing, he was Drawing nearer-to Death. Hence he said, "What I Write is taken away from my Life". "Quod scribo de mea vita tollitur". Let us then say with Job: Years pass-by, and with them Pleasures, Honors, Pomps, and all Things in this World pass-away, "and only the Grave remaineth for me" - Job 17:1. In a Word, all the Glory-of the Labors we have undergone-in this World, in-order-to Acquire a Large Income, a High Character for Valor, for Learning and Genius, shall End-in our being Thrown-into a Pit, to become the Food of Worms. The Miserable Worldling then, shall say at Death: My House, my Garden, my Fashionable Furniture, my Pictures and Rich Apparel , shall, in a short Time, belong no-more to me, "and only the Grave remaineth for me".

But, how much soever the Worldling may be Distracted-by his Worldly Affairs and by his Pleasures; how much soever he may be Entangled-in them, Saint Chrysostom says that when the Fear of Death, which sets Fire to all Things-of the Present Life, begins-to Enter the Soul, it will Compel him to Think, and to be Solicitous-about his Lot after Death. "Cum pulsare animam incipit metus mortis (ignis instar praesentis vitae omnia succendens) philosophari eam cogit, et futura solicita mente versari". Alas! at the Hour of Death, "Then shall the Eyes of the Blind be Opened" - Isaiah 35:5. Then Indeed shall be Opened, the Eyes of those Blind Worldlings, who have employed their Whole Life in-acquiring Earthly Goods, and have Paid but Little Attention-to the Interests-of the Soul. In all these shall be Verified what Jesus Christ has told them - that Death shall come when they Least Expect it. "For at what Hour you think not, the Son of Man will Come" - Luke 12:40. Thus, on these Unhappy Men, Death always comes Unexpectedly. Hence, because the Lovers-of the World, are not usually Warned-of their approaching Dissolution, till it is very Near, they must, in the Last Few Days of Life, Adjust the Accounts-of their Soul for the Fifty (50) or Sixty (60) Years which they Lived-on this Earth. They will then Desire another Month, or another Week, to Settle their Accounts, and to 'Tranquillize' their Conscience. But, "they will Seek for Peace, and there shall be None" - Ezekiel 7:25. The Time which they Desire, is Refused. The Assisting Priest reads the Divine Command, to Depart Instantly-from this World, "Proficiscere anima Christiana de hoc mundo". Depart, Christian Soul from this World! Oh! how Dangerous the Entrance-of Worldlings into Eternity (∞), Dying, as they do, amid so-much Darkness and Confusion, in consequence-of the Disorderly State of the Accounts-of their Souls.

In this Painting of the Last Judgment, by Rogier Weyden, is depicted Saint Michael the Archangel (in white), Weighing the Souls of Men with a Balance, in the Presence of Jesus.

"Weight and Balance are Judgments of the Lord"
 

"Weight and Balance are Judgments of the Lord" - Proverbs 16:11. At the Tribunal of God, Nobility, Dignities, and Riches have no Weight; Two (2) Things only - our Sins, and the Graces Bestowed-on us by God - make the Scales 'Ascend' or 'Descend'. They who shall be found Faithful in corresponding-with the Lights and Calls which they have Received, shall be Rewarded; and they who shall be found Unfaithful, shall be Condemned. We do not keep an Account-of God's Graces; but the Lord keeps an Account-of them; He Measures them; and when He sees them Despised to a Certain Degree, He leaves the Soul in Her Sins, and takes Her out-of Life, in that Miserable State. "For what Things a Man shall Sow, those also shall he Reap" - Galatians 6:8. From Labors undertaken-for the Attainment-of Posts-of Honor and Emolument, for the Acquisition-of Property and of Worldly Applause, we reap Nothing at the Hour-of Death; all are then Lost. We gather Fruits of Eternal (∞) Life only from Works Performed and Tribulations Suffered, for God.

Hence Saint Paul exhorts us to Attend-to our own Business. "But we Entreat you, Brethren, . . . that you do your own Business" - 1Thessalonians 4:10-11. Of what Business, I ask, does the Apostle Speak? Is it of Acquiring Riches, or a Great Name in the World? No; he Speaks-of the Business of the Soul, of which Jesus Christ spoke when He said, "Trade till I come" - Luke 19:13. The Business for-which the Lord has Placed, and for-which He Keeps us on this Earth, is to Save our Souls, and by Good Works, to Gain Eternal (∞) Life. This is the End for which we have been Created. "and the End Life Everlasting" - Romans 6:22. The Business of the Soul is for us not only the most Important, but also the Principal and Only Affair; for if the Soul be Saved, 'All' is Safe; but if the Soul be Lost, 'All' is Lost. Hence we ought, as the Scripture says, to Strive-for the Salvation of our Souls, and to Combat to Death for Justice - that is, for the Observance-of the Divine Law. "Strive for Justice for thy Soul, and even unto Death, Fight for Justice, and God will Overthrow thy Enemies for thee" - Ecclesiasticus 4:33. The Business which Our Savior recommends to us, saying: Trade till I Come, is to have always Before-our-Eyes, the Day on which He shall Come, to Demand an Account-of our Whole Life.

All Things in this World - Acquisitions, Applause, Grandeur - must, as we have said, all End, and End very soon. "For the Fashion of this World, Passeth away" - 1Corinthians 7:31. The 'Scene' of this Life Passes-away; Happy they who, in this 'Scene', Act their Part well, and Save their Souls, preferring the Eternal (∞) Interests-of the Soul, to all the Temporal Interests-of the Body. "He that Loveth his Life, shall Lose it; and he that Hateth his Life in this World, Keepeth it unto Life Eternal" - John 12:25. Worldlings say: Happy the Man who Hoards-up Money! Happy they who Acquire the Esteem-of the World, and Enjoy the Pleasures of this Life! O Folly! Happy he who Loves God and Saves his Soul! The Salvation of his Soul was the only Favor which King David asked-of God. "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. That I may See the Delight of the Lord, and may visit His Temple" - Psalm 26:4. And Saint Paul said, that to Acquire the Grace of Jesus Christ, which contains Eternal (∞) Life, he Despised-as Dung, all Worldly Goods. "Furthermore I count all things to be but Loss, for the Excellent Knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord; for Whom I have Suffered the Loss of all things, and count them but as Dung, that I may gain Christ" - Philippians 3:8.

But certain Fathers-of Families will say: I do not Labor so much for myself, as for my Children, whom I Wish to leave in Comfortable Circumstances. But I will Answer: If you Dissipate the Goods which you Possess, and leave your Children in Poverty, you do Wrong and are Guilty of Sin. But, will you Lose your Soul, in-order-to Leave your Children Comfortable? If you Fall into Hell, perhaps they will Come and Release you from it? O Folly! Listen to what David said, "I have not seen the Just Forsaken, nor his Seed seeking Bread" - Psalm 36:25. Attend-to the Service-of God; Act According-to Justice; the Lord will Provide-for the Wants of your Children, and you shall Save your Souls, and Lay-up that Eternal (∞) Treasure of Happiness, which can never be Taken-from you; a Treasure not like Earthly Possessions, of which you may be Deprived by Robbers, and which you shall certainly Lose at Death. This is the Advice which the Lord gives you, "But lay up to yourselves Treasures in Heaven: where neither the Rust nor Moth doth Consume, and where Thieves do not Break through, nor Steal" - Matthew 6:20. In Conclusion, attend-to the Beautiful Admonition which Saint Gregory gives-to all who Wish-to Live-well and Gain Eternal (∞) Life. "Sit nobis in intentione aeternitas, in usu temporalitas". Let the End of all our Actions in this Life be, the Acquisition-of Eternal (∞) Goods; and let us use Temporal Things only to Preserve Life for the Little Time we have to Remain-on this Earth. The Saint continues: "Sicut nulla est proportio inter aeternitatem et nostrae vitae tempus, ita nulla debet esse proportio inter aeternitatis, et hujus, vitae euras". As there is an Infinite (∞) Distance between Eternity (∞), and the Time of our Life, so there ought to be, according-to our Mode-of Understanding, an Infinite (∞) Distance between the Attention which we should Pay-to the Goods - of Eternity (∞), which shall be Enjoyed Forever (∞), and the Care we take-of the Goods-of this Life, which Death shall soon Take-away from us.

 

- 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.

Amen

 

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.

Amen

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

 

Consecration to God thru Mary