St John Vianney – meditation for Good Friday


If we were required to die twice, we could jettison one death. But man dies once only, and upon his death depends his eternity. Where the tree falls, there shall it lie. If, at the hour of his death, someone is living in some bad habit, his poor soul will fall on the side of Hell. If, on the other hand, he is in the state of grace, it will take the road for heaven. Oh, happy road!….

Generally speaking, one dies as one has lived. That is one of the great truths which Holy Scripture and the Fathers repeat in many different places. If you live as good Christians, you will be sure to die as good Christians, but if you live badly, you will be sure to die a bad death. The prophet Isaias warns us that the impious man who thinks only of doing evil is in a woeful state, for he will be treated as he deserves. At death he will receive the reward for the work he has done. It is true, however, that sometimes, by a kind of miracle, one may begin badly and finish well, but that happens so rarely that, as St. Jerome puts it, death is generally the echo of life. You think that you will return then to God? No, you will perish in sin….

The Holy Ghost tells us that if we have a friend, we should do him some good before we die. Well, my dear brethren, could one have a better friend than one’s soul? Let us do all the good for it that we can, for at the moment when we would like to do our souls good, we shall be able to do no more!…. Life is short. If you defer changing your ways until the hour of your death, you are blind, for you do not know either the time or the place where you will die, perhaps without any assistance. Who knows if you will not go this night, covered in your sins, before the tribunal of Jesus Christ?…. Yes, my dear brethren, as life is, so is death. Do not hope for a miracle, which God but rarely performs. You are living in sin; very well, you will die in sin….

If we desire to die a good death, we must lead a Christian life. And the way for us to prepare for a good death is to model our deaths upon the death of Jesus Christ. Can the life of the good Christian be anything other than that of a man nailed to the Cross with Jesus Christ?

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5 Responses to St John Vianney – meditation for Good Friday

  1. Susie Rios says:

    Thanks, it could not be be written any clearer.


  2. We will never know for sure of course, this side of heaven, but this meditation makes you think that Dismas, the Good Thief, may not have been simply one of those men who experience a complete, last minute conversion from hardened sinner to glorious saint. On the contrary, he may have been one of the many basically just men who do something wrong during a time of weakness in their lives and manage to set things right just before the end. “Generally speaking, one dies as one has lived.” Nevertheless, it may also be true that God did perform one of the miracles that he “rarely performs,” and allowed Dismas the good fortune of being “nailed to the Cross with Jesus Christ.”


  3. kathleen says:

    Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)

    Prayers for the conversion of sinners will be heard…. and answered! We have Our Blessed Lord’s word for it. How many? When? How? These things we don’t know “this side of Heaven”, as you say Robert, but we do know that His Word is Truth. If each one of us could ask for the grace necessary to save just one soul from Hell through our prayers and entreaties……. think how many millions that could make who would reach Heaven!

    Perhaps that is why Our Lord chose to reveal his Divine Mercy to St. Faustina, asking for prayers and the novena to be made for sinners, at a time when men’s awareness of this great Gospel Truth had grown dim.


  4. Tri Ma Gia says:

    The good thief accepted his sin his just punishment, yet he defended for Jesus and witness the LOrd love and died for human sins while thousands people who had seen Jesus miracles and healing power but all disappeared, no one defend His Innocence and sacrifice except Blessed Maria, John a and few women…that why Jesus rewarded the Good thief in paradise, who went thru a conversion process from some time in his subconscience. God see through his heart.
    Glory Jesus Love !


  5. Bid Bow says:

    St John Vianney spoke these words to an Anglican lay person. St John said to the Anglican that they would not see each other in Heaven because the Anglican was not part of the faith – and could not die in a state of grace. St John said: ” where the tree falls, so shall it lay”. ( he said lay not lie as is stated in this article )

    These words shocked and angered the Anglican, but upon reflection and upon reading Catholic Dogma became, he knew it was true and then became an ardent Catholic.
    But now, no longer do priests say this truth having been caught up in the false ecumenism of Vatican II.

    No longer do Popes dare utter this truth for fear of offending people – so they instead obfuscate and abandon their position and responsibility as Vicar of Christ.

    St.John boldly told the false Christian the TRUTH, and in so doing saved his soul.
    Those outside the faith, the institution established by Christ, His Holy Catholic Church, there is no salvation. Where the tree falls, so shall it lay. This loss of TRUTH is more evidence, is such was needed of the diabolic disorientation warned of at Fatima and confirmed by Pope Benedict and Cardinals like Ciappi and Caffara.


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