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Death Is A Good Counselor, My Child...

Photo of Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue


(7 minute read…enjoy)

 

1. The Voice of Jesus

My Child, remember, thou must die: because it is appointed for all men once to die.

Do whatever thou wilt; thou canst by no possible effort escape the grasp of death. The Almighty Himself has fixed the bounds, beyond which none can pass. When thou hast reached them, no matter what may be thy condition, thou shalt die the death.

Whilst life endures, there is naught more certain than death: yet there is naught more hidden in uncertainty, than the time of death, and its attendant surroundings.

Thou knowest not, indeed, when thou shalt die: yet, hold this for certain, that thou shalt die, when thou thinkest not.

Whether thou shalt see the end of this year, or even of this day, of that thou art wholly ignorant.

Many, counting on a long life, and regardless of making preparation for death, dream of much to be done in the future; when suddenly death puts an end to all their plans, and drags them away into eternity.

Whether thou shalt die at home, or abroad; of sickness, or by violence, whether strengthened with the Sacraments, or deprived of their soothing comforts, all this lies hidden in the mysterious unknown.

 

2. However, My Child, thou shalt die only once: if once thou diest well, thy everlasting bliss is secured; if once thou diest ill, thy destruction is endless and irreparable.

O inconceivable stupidity of the heart of man! Very many fear not to live in a state of damnation; and yet it is certain, that they shall die unexpectedly. The unchangeable declaration remains firm: The Son of man will come, when He is not expected.

For a reason worthy of God’s Wisdom, the time of His coming remains hidden, that men may keep themselves in the state of grace ever ready. But, as many disregard this, it happens that not a few die without being prepared, and in a twinkling are buried in hell.

Woe, therefore, to them whom death shall overtake in a bad state! When they are dead, hope shall be no more; because from a death in time, they fall into the death of eternity, and from finite evils they pass over to those which are infinite.

Most wretched is the death of sinners: frightful is the death of the lukewarm; but precious, and filled with consolation, is the death of them that have sanctified themselves.

Blessed are they who end a saintly life with a holy death! They reach the end of their labor, their afflictions, their trials, and of all dangers, and they enter into a bliss secure and complete.

 

3. How differently are different persons impressed at the moment of death! Some are terror stricken at the thought of the past, of the present, and of the future; others are filled with comfort: these feel their hearts dilating; those feel them compressed with anguish: but all wish that they had lived piously.

To be well prepared to die, is the greatest consolation of him that sees the near approach of death.

To how great a danger of dying unprepared is he exposed, who thinks of making ready only when death is at the door! Then, either time is wanting, or the pangs of sickness hinder the use of the souls powers, or passions still have their wonted sway, whilst the habit of neglecting to correspond to grace still prevails; and, meanwhile, the devil’s assaults are greater than ever before.

Look forward, then, My Child, before the night overtakes thee, wherein no one can securely work, but when everyone begins to garner, what he has sown.

A good life is the best preparation for death. It is generally true, that he that lives well, dies well.

Daily, before retiring to thy nightly rest, put thy soul in order, as if, the same night, thou hadst to set out for eternity.

 

4. Death is a good counselor, My Child; wherefore, before thou undertake, or leave off, aught of importance, ask advice of death, that thou mayst know, when it calls thee, what thou wouldst like to have done, what thou wouldst regret to have left undone.

By perfect purity of heart thou canst make thy death most safe and consoling.

Take no counsel of the flesh, when there is question of securing a happy death; but, even in spite of its murmurings, pursue what is good, that, in the end, thou mayst save both the body and the soul.

After death thy body shall become the food of worms, and whatever remains of it, shall be the prey of corruption.

Yet, thereafter, it shall arise again, whether thou art willing or not, to share the everlasting destiny of the soul.

Let death be most familiar to thee, My Child. If thou be faithful in asking its advice, and in following it, it will be thy solace in adversity, it will keep thee in due bounds in prosperity, it will be useful to thee in all things, it will not cease to do thee good; and, in the end, it will free thee from this place of exile, and introduce thee into thy blissful country in heaven.

 

5. The Voice of the Disciple

Is it possible, Lord, that any one will hold himself unprepared, when at any moment he may have to meet death?

My conscience bears me witness, what I shall wish for at the approach of death: then my sole desire shall be that I had led a life of innocence; that for Thee I had kept my heart undefiled that I had sanctified my soul.

But, alas! Should death overtake me now, I should wish for all this in vain; since, as yet, I possess no sign of holiness, but rather many marks of lukewarmness.

O, compassionate and merciful Lord, bear with me a little while, that I may weep over my neglectfulness, and that I may do what I would desire to have performed, when death comes.

 

6. O my soul, soon time shall be no more. Let others do as they list: let us, whilst yet there is time, devote ourselves to the work of our salvation.

Each one for himself. When death comes no one can take our place; nor can any one, in our stead, go into eternity. Whatever, therefore, others may say or do, let us place our everlasting destiny beyond all danger.

And what means, Lord Jesus, can be better, and safer, than a true love for Thee, disengaged from every thing besides; since this both cleanses us from our faults, and renders us holy?

If I love Thee truly, I will not fear death, nor aught of all that follows thereafter. Thy love will drive away fear: Thy love will enable me to approach Thee with confidence.
Thou, then, Jesus, my love, be Thou henceforth my life. If Thou art my life, to die shall be my gain.

For love of Thee, let me daily die to sin, to the world, to myself, that I may live for Thee: let me become free from things created, and be made wholly pure, so that, when death opens the door, I may appear before Thee rejoicingly.

 


“Voice of Jesus” is taken from Arnoudt’s “Imitation of the Sacred Heart”, translated from the Latin of J.M. Fastre; Benziger Bros. Copyright 1866

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for July 5, 2020

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do...

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July 5

 

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation.
We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence,
but we rather have those because we have acted rightly.
We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.

Aristotle


My Mother, I will stand with you on OCTOBER 10, 2020

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Elizabeth of Portugal

Her goodness went as far as raising her husband’s illegiti...

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St. Elizabeth of Portugal

Elizabeth of Portugal known as “The Holy Queen” was born Isabel of Aragon in Zaragoza, Spain, the daughter of King Pedro III of Aragon and Queen Constanza of Naples. She was named after her great aunt, St. Elizabeth of Hungary.

From childhood, having received a most Christian upbringing, she learned to practice self-discipline, mortification of wayward tendencies, the avoidance of sin and the pursuit of virtue, prayer and union with God’s holy will.

Beautiful, talented and good, she was sought in marriage by several European monarchs, and was ultimately betrothed by proxy at the age of thirteen to King Dinis of Portugal.

A year and a half later she arrived in Portugal to assume her responsibilities as queen. Although he was an able ruler, her husband had an irate temper and sinful habits. While he respected and revered his queen, he was unfaithful to her and had several illegitimate children.

Elizabeth bore the conjugal betrayal with exquisite patience and heroic magnanimity, praying continuously for her wayward spouse. She and Dinis had two children: Constanza and Alfonso.

The young queen started her day with Mass and prayer, and then proceeded to see to the governance of her palace. In the free moments she sewed and embroidered with her ladies for the poor, and personally tended to their needs. Afternoons were dedicated to the care of the elderly, the poor or anyone else in want.

Amazingly talented, Elizabeth mastered several languages, sang beautifully, and enjoyed a remarkable understanding of engineering and architecture. She herself designed and oversaw the building of several churches, monasteries and hospitals, developing her own “Elizabethan Style.”

One day while inspecting a construction site, a girl approached and gave her a bouquet of flowers. The queen then distributed the flowers, one to each of the workers saying: “Let’s see if today you will work hard and well for this pay.” The men reverently placed their flower each in his own satchel, only to find, at the end of the day, a gold coin in place of the flower.

In her city Elizabeth built hostels for the poor, a hospital, a house for repentant wayward women, a free school for girls, and a hospice for abandoned children. She built bridges in dangerous places, visited and procured doctors for the ill, and endowed poor girls for the convent or for marriage. She kept a beautiful tiara and wedding dress to lend to poor brides so they could “shine” or their special day. Her goodness went as far as raising her husband’s illegitimate children.

A great devotee of the Immaculate Conception of Mary Most Holy centuries before the dogma was declared; she obtained from the bishop of Coimbra the establishment of the feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, which was afterwards observed with great solemnity throughout the whole country.

A constant peacemaker, the holy queen ironed out many a conflict between bellicose rulers and nobles. Twice she reconciled her husband and son, on one occasion, even interposing her person between them in the battlefield.
In the end, Dinis died a most repentant man. In one of his poems he left his ultimate tribute to his ultimate queen:

God made you without peer
In goodness of heart and speech
As your equal does not exist,
My love, my lady, I thus sing:
Had God so wished,
You’d made a great king.  

After her husband’s death, Elizabeth took the habit of a Franciscan Tertiary and retired near a convent of Poor Clares which she had built, dedicating herself to the sick and the poor.

The saintly queen died at age sixty-five invoking Our Lady, and was canonized in 1625 by Pope Urban VIII who had vowed not to canonize anyone during his pontificate. He made the exception for Elizabeth at being promptly healed of a serious illness after praying to her.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

The young men began to boast of some foolish love affairs. N...

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A Young Man and His Lady Love

In twelfth century England, a group of young men had gathered and were bragging of their various feats, as young men have done since the beginning of time.

The lively conversation went from archery to sword fighting to horsemanship, each trying to outdo the accomplishments of the others.

Finally, the young men began to boast of some foolish love affairs. Not to be outdone by his peers, a noble youth named Thomas declared that he, too, loved a great lady, and was beloved by her.

Thomas of Canterbury meant the most holy Virgin as the object of his affection, but afterwards, he felt some remorse at having made this boast. He did not want to offend his beloved Lady in any way.

Seeing all from her throne in heaven, Mary appeared to him in his trouble, and with a gracious sweetness said to him: "Thomas, what do you fear? You had reason to say that you loved me, and that you are beloved by me. Assure your companions of this, and as a pledge of the love I bear you, show them this gift that I make you."

The gift was a small box, containing a chasuble, blood-red in color. Mary, for the love she bore him, had obtained for him the grace to be a priest and a martyr, which indeed happened, for he was first made priest and afterwards Bishop of Canterbury, in England.

Many years later, he would indeed be persecuted by the king, and Thomas fled to the Cistercian monastery at Pontignac, in France.

Far from kith and kin, but never far from his Lady Love, he was attempting to mend his hair-cloth shirt that he usually wore and had ripped. Not being able to do it well, his beloved queen appeared to him, and, with special kindness, took the haircloth from his hand, and repaired it as it should be done.

After this, at the age of 50, he returned to Canterbury and died a martyr, having been put to death on account of his zeal for the Church.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

The young men began to boast of some foolish love affairs. Not to be outdone by his peers, a noble youth named Thomas declared that he, too, loved a great lady, and was beloved by her.

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