Continuing our daily meditations, taken from “Introduction to the Devout Life” by St. Francis de Sales, in preparation for making a truly Holy Confession before entering Holy Week.
Chapter XVI: Sixth Meditation – Judgement
1. PLACE yourself in the Presence of God. 2. Intreat Him to inspire you.
1. When the time comes which God has appointed for the end of this world, and after many terrible signs and warnings, which will overwhelm men with fear,—the whole earth will be destroyed, and nothing then left.
2. Afterwards, all men, save those already risen, shall rise from the dead, and at the voice of the Archangel appear in the valley of Jehoshaphat. But alas, with what divers aspects! for some will be glorious and shining, others horrible and ghastly.
3. Consider the majesty with which the Sovereign Judge will appear surrounded by all His Saints and Angels; His Cross, the Sign of Grace to the good and of terror to the evil, shining brighter than the sun.
4. This Sovereign Judge will with His awful word, instantly fulfilled, separate the evil and the good, setting the one on His Right Hand, the other on His Left—an eternal separation, for they will never meet again.
5. This separation made, the books of conscience will be opened, and all men will behold the malice of the wicked, and how they have contemned God; as also the penitence of the good, and the results of the grace they received. Nothing will be hid. O my God, what confusion to the one, what rejoicing to the other! Consider the final sentence of the wicked. “Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” Dwell upon these awful words. “Go,” He says—for ever discarding these wretched sinners, banishing them for ever from His Presence. He calls them “cursed:” O my soul, what a curse: a curse involving all other maledictions, all possible evil, an irrevocable curse, including all time and eternity; condemning them to everlasting fire. Think what that eternity of suffering implies.
6. Then consider the sentence of the good. “Come,” the Judge says—O blessed loving word with which God draws us to Himself and receives us in His Bosom. “Blessed of My Father”—O blessing above all blessings! “inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world.” O my God, and that Kingdom will know no end!
Affections and Resolutions.
1. Tremble, my soul, at the thought. O God, who will be my stay in that hour when the pillars of the earth are shaken?
2. Abhor your sins, which alone can cause you to be lost when that fearful day comes. Surely I will judge myself now, that I be not judged;—I will examine my conscience, accuse, condemn, punish myself, that the Judge may not condemn me then. I will confess my faults, and follow the counsels given me.
Thank God for having given you means of safety in that terrible Day, and time for repentance. Offer Him your heart, and ask for grace to use it well. OUR FATHER, etc.
Gather your bouquet.