Book Talk Tuesday, Introduction to the Devout Life, Part 1, Chapter 13
CHAPTER XIII. FIFTH MEDITATION.
1. PLACE yourself in the Presence of God. 2. Ask His Grace. 3. Suppose
yourself to be on your deathbed, in the last extremity, without the
smallest hope of recovery.
1. Consider the uncertainty as to the day of your death. One day your
soul will quit this body–will it be in summer or winter? in town or
country? by day or by night? will it be suddenly or with warning? will
it be owing to sickness or an accident? will you have time to make your
last confession or not? will your confessor or spiritual father be at
hand or will he not? Alas, of all these things we know absolutely
nothing: all that we do know is that die we shall, and for the most
part sooner than we expect.
2. Consider that then the world is at end as far as you are concerned,
there will be no more of it for you, it will be altogether overthrown
for you, since all pleasures, vanities, worldly joys, empty delights
will be as a mere fantastic vision to you. Woe is me, for what mere
trifles and unrealities I have ventured to offend my God? Then you will
see that what we preferred to Him was nought. But, on the other hand,
all devotion and good works will then seem so precious and so
sweet:–Why did I not tread that pleasant path? Then what you thought
to be little sins will look like huge mountains, and your devotion will
seem but a very little thing.
3. Consider the universal farewell which your soul will take of this
world. It will say farewell to riches, pleasures, and idle companions;
to amusements and pastimes, to friends and neighbours, to husband, wife
and child, in short to all creation. And lastly it will say farewell to
its own body, which it will leave pale and cold, to become repulsive in
4. Consider how the survivors will hasten to put that body away, and
hide it beneath the earth–and then the world will scarce give you
another thought, or remember you, any more than you have done to those
already gone. “God rest his soul!” men will say, and that is all. O
death, how pitiless, how hard thou art!
5. Consider that when it quits the body the soul must go at once to the
right hand or the left. To which will your soul go? what side will it
take? none other, be sure, than that to which it had voluntarily drawn
while yet in this world.
Affections and Resolutions.
1. Pray to God, and throw yourself into His Arms. O Lord, be Thou my
stay in that day of anguish! May that hour be blessed and favourable to
me, if all the rest of my life be full of sadness and trial.
2. Despise the world. Forasmuch as I know not the hour in which I must
quit the world, I will not grow fond of it. O dear friends, beloved
ones of my heart, be content that I cleave to you only with a holy
friendship which may last for ever; why should I cling to you with a
tie which must needs be broken?
I will prepare for the hour of death and take every precaution for its
peaceful arrival; I will thoroughly examine into the state of my
conscience, and put in order whatever is wanting.
Thank God for inspiring you with these resolutions: offer them to His
Majesty: intreat Him anew to grant you a happy death by the Merits of
His Dear Son’s Death. Ask the prayers of the Blessed Virgin and the
Saints. OUR FATHER, etc.
Gather a bouquet of myrrh.