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IN ALL THINGS CONSIDER YOUR END

IN ALL THINGS CONSIDER YOUR END

In all things consider the end; how you shall stand before the strict Judge from Whom nothing is hidden and Who will pronounce judgment in all justice, accepting neither bribes nor excuses. And you, miserable and wretched sinner, who fear even the countenance of an angry man, what answer will you make to the God Who knows all your sins? Why do you not provide for yourself against the day of judgment when no man can be excused or defended by another because each will have enough to do to answer for himself? In this life your work is profitable, your tears acceptable, your sighs audible, your sorrow satisfying and purifying.

PRIORITIES

The patient man goes through a great and salutary purgatory when he grieves more over the malice of one who harms him than for his own injury; when he prays readily for his enemies and forgives offences from his heart; when he does not hesitate to ask pardon of others; when he is more easily moved to pity than to anger; when he does frequent violence to himself and tries to bring the body into complete subjection to the spirit.

It is better to atone for sin now and to cut away vices than to keep them for purgation in the hereafter. In truth, we deceive ourselves by our ill-advised love of the flesh. What will that fire feed upon but our sins? The more we spare ourselves now and the more we satisfy the flesh, the harder will the reckoning be and the more we keep for the burning.

– From: Thomas a Kempis; The Imitation of Christ

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2019 in Words of Wisdom

 

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TODAY’S BIBLE READING (APOCALYPSE 20:1-4.11-21:2)

TODAY’S BIBLE READING (APOCALYPSE 20:1-4.11-21:2)

Last Week of the Year, Cycle II, Friday)

I, John, saw an angel come down from heaven with the key of the Abyss in his hand and an enormous chain. He overpowered the dragon, that primeval serpent which is the devil and Satan, and chained him up for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss and shut the entrance and sealed it over him, to make sure he would not deceive the nations again until a thousand years had passed. At the end of that time he must be released, but only for a short while.

Then I saw some thrones, and I saw those who are given the power to be judges take their seats on them. I saw the souls of all who had been beheaded for having witnessed for Jesus and for having preached God’s word, and those who refused to worship the beast or his statue and would not have the brand-mark on their foreheads or hands; they came to life, and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

Then I saw a great white throne and the One who was sitting on it. In his presence, earth and sky vanished, leaving no trace. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing in front of his throne, while the book of judgment was opened which were the record of what they had done in their lives, by which the dead were judged.

The sea gave up all the dead who were in it; Death and Hades were emptied of the dead that were in them; and every one was judged according to the way in which he had lived. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the burning lake. The burning lake is the second death; and anybody whose name could not be found written in the book of life was thrown into the burning lake.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; the first heaven and the first earth had disappeared now, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the holy city, and the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, as beautiful as a bride all dressed for her husband.

V. The word of the Lord. R. Thanks be to God.

 
 

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TODAY’S BIBLE READING (APOCALYPSE 3:1-6; 14-22)

TODAY’S BIBLE READING (APOCALYPSE 3:1-6; 14-22)

WILL YOUR NAMES, TOO, BE BLOTTED OUT OF THE BOOK OF LIFE? (Apc3:5b)

Week 33 of the Year, Cycle II, Tuesday

If one of you opens the door, I will come in to share his meal.

I, John, heard the Lord saying to me: “Write to the angel of the church in Sardis and say, ‘Here is the message of the one who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars: I know all about you: how you are reputed to be alive and yet are dead. Wake up; revive what little you have left: it is dying fast. So far I have failed to notice anything in the way you live that my God could possibly call perfect, and yet do you remember how eager you were when you first heard the message? Hold on to that.

Repent. If you do not wake up, I shall come to you like a thief, without telling you at what hour to expect me. There are a few in Sardis, it is true, who have kept their robes from being dirtied, and they are fit to come with me, dressed in white. Those who prove victorious will be dressed, like these, in white robes; I shall not blot their names out of the book of life, but acknowledge their names in the presence of my Father and his angels. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.’

” Write to the angel of the church in Laodicea and say, ‘Here is the message of the Amen, the faithful, the true witness, the ultimate source of God’s creation: I know all about you: how you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were one or the other, but since you are neither, but only lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth. You say to yourself, “I am rich, I have made a fortune, and have everything I want,” never realising that you are wretchedly and pitiably poor, and blind and naked too. I warn you, buy from me the gold that has been tested in the fire to make you really rich, and white robes to clothe you and cover your shameful nakedness, and eye ointment to put on your eyes so that you are able to see. I am the one who reproves and disciplines all those he loves: so repent in real earnest. Look, I am standing at the door, knocking. If one of you hears my calling and opens the door, I will come in to share his meal, side by side with him. Those who prove victorious I will allow to share my throne, just as I was victorious myself and took my place with my Father on his throne. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

V. The word of the Lord. R. Thanks be to God.

 
 

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ST MICHAEL, ARCHANGEL, SPECIAL CONSOLER AT THE HOUR OF DEATH

“Not only during this earthly life does the glorious Archangel Michael defend and protect souls, but he is their special advocate and consoler at the hour of death.

When the last earthly hour draws near…

When the last hour of our earthly pilgrimage draws near and we are confronted by that awful moment when our soul must leave the body, which it has loved so much, satanic hosts, like ravenous lions, will make a last attack upon us. But we need not fear if during this life we have been faithful in venerating St Michael and in imploring his aid for the hour of death.

In that hour of supreme need, this invincible Archangel, ever ready to assist the faithful soul, will come to our aid with his hosts and do battle on our behalf. He will cover us with his strong shield and lead us safely through the midst of our enemies.

And when at length our souls have been freed from their earthly bonds…

And when at length our souls have been freed from their earthly bonds, he will conduct us to the judgment seat of Christ, where he will undertake our defence and implore the forgiveness of our sins. Finally, if we have merited to be numbered among the elect, he will take us beneath his glorious banner and conduct us to the blessed home of light, where all the Angels and elect children of God glory in the eternal praise of their Creator.

It is therefore a commendable practice daily to invoke St Michael to lend his assistance at the critical hour of death. Many are the faithful clients of St Michael who have experienced his help in that hour.”

– From: ‘Neath St Michael’s Shield

 

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WE ARE ONLY ON LOAN TO OURSELVES – AT ALL TIMES WE REMAIN GOD’S PROPERTY

We are not our own

“We all are familiar with the concept of stewardship, of responsibility of another’s property which may be entrusted to our care. The manager of a chain store is the steward of the corporation which owns the store. The corporation’s board of directors are the stewards of the stockholders. A banker is the steward of his depositors and a pastor of his parishioners.

The obligation of a steward is to administer wisely the property which is entrusted to his care. He must guard it vigilantly, use it prudently and keep always in mind the best interests of the owner.

There are few of us who do not find ourselves in a position of stewardship

There are few of us who do not find ourselves in a position of stewardship, at least some times and at least in some small matters. It is to our credit that most of us do discharge conscientiously our duties of stewardship. There are frauds and embezzlements, true enough. But it is only because such betrayals of trust are exceptional that they rate newspaper headlines.

Our obligations of stewardship to God

We understand clearly and take seriously the obligations of stewardship as far as our neighbour is concerned. It seems somewhat surprising, therefore, that we pay so little heed to our duties of stewardship as far as God is concerned.

We acknowledge readily enough our indebtedness to God for all that we are and have. We never would question for a moment the fact that we owe to God our existence, our religious faith, our physical and mental endowments and all that is good and desirable in our lives. We are decently grateful to God, and pray that He will continue to bless us with His loving care.

Too few of us, however, develop a functioning realisation of our stewardship to God. Freely admitting all that He has done for us, we still do not operate on the recognised premise that we belong to God, in ourselves and in all that we are and have.

We shall be called upon to give God an account

We are not our own. We remain God’s absolute property. We are only on loan to ourselves. When we finally face God in judgment, it will not be to give an account of our gift. Usage has hallowed that expression, but strictly speaking there have been no gifts, only investments. In judgment we shall be called upon to give God an account of the dividends, in love and service, which His investments have garnered in our hands.

The unawareness of our role of stewardship shows itself in a hundred ways. For example, we often say (or think) ‘I owe it to myself to do this’, when the real basis of our decision should be, ‘I owe it to God to do this.’ Similarly we ponder, ‘How much can I afford to spend?’ or, ‘How much can I afford to give?’ when a more precise question would be, ‘How much of His money would God want me to shell out here?’ A still better question would be, ‘How much of His money would God want me to spend on myself while others lack enough to eat?’

Much of the loose writing and talking that is done concerning sex, in and out of marriage, stems from the forgetfulness of God’s ownership rights. The power of procreation has been entrusted to us by God to be used for His purposes. He has not abandoned His dominion over that power. The recommendations of sociologists, physiologists, physicians and psychologists can be valid only to the extent that they recognise God’s proprietary rights.

The power of procreation has been entrusted to us by God to be used for His purposes

God certainly wills the enhancement of His property. To put it more conventionally, God certainly wills the good of His beloved creature, man. But it is the good as God sees it and the good which God wants, which must be sought.

The development of a sense of stewardship will make our lives more fruitful

The development of a sense of stewardship will make our lives more meaningful, more fruitful. Almost always we are more careful with the property of another than we are with our own. If we see ourselves, our possessions, our health, our time and our talents as really belonging to God, there will be much less waste and misuse than when we see ourselves as the absolute master of our assets and resources.

It will make quite a difference, too, in our final accounting.”

– Fr Leo J. Trese, One Step Enough, 1966

 

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TODAY’S GOSPEL READING (MATTHEW 13:24-43)

LET THEM BOTH GROW TILL THE HARVEST.

Jesus put another parable before the crowds, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everybody was asleep his enemy came, sowed darnel all among the wheat, and made off. When the new wheat sprouted and ripened, the darnel appeared as well.

The owner’s servants went to him and said, ‘Sir, was it not good seed that you sowed in your field? If so, where does the darnel come from?’ ‘Some enemy has done this,’ he answered. And the servants said, ‘Do you want us to go and weed it out?’

But he said, ‘No, because when you weed out the darnel you might pull up the wheat with it. Let them both grow till the harvest; and at harvest time I shall say to the reapers: First collect the darnel and tie it in bundles to be burnt, then gather the wheat into my barn.’”

He put another parable before them, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the biggest shrub of all and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and shelter in its branches.”

He told them another parable, “The kingdom of heaven is like the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through.”

In all this Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables; indeed, he would never speak to them except in parables. This was to fulfil the prophecy:

I will speak to you in parables
and expound things hidden since the foundation of the world.

Then, leaving the crowds, he went to the house; and his disciples came to him and said, “Explain the parable about the darnel in the field to us.” He said in reply, “The sower of the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world; the good seed is the subjects of the kingdom; the darnel, the subjects of the evil one; the enemy who sowed them, the devil; the harvest is the end of the world, the reapers are the angels. Well then, just as the darnel is gathered up and burnt in the fire, so it will be at the end of time. The Son of Man will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that provoke offences and all who do evil, and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. Then the virtuous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Listen, anyone who has ears!”

V. The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

 

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“SPARSELY POPULATED OR NOT, HELL REMAINS A REALITY FOR ANYONE WHO VALUES HIMSELF ABOVE GOD”

“Men die only once, and after this comes judgment” (Heb 9:27)
* * * * * *

“Some day this world of ours will come to an end. What plans God may have in mind for other planets in the universe we do not know. We only know that there will come a time when the human race will have run its course; a time when this particular phase of God’s over-all plan has been completed.

THE SECOND COMING

When the world ends there will be a general judgment. This will be the second coming of our Lord Jesus. He who was man’s Redeemer now will be man’s judge. It will be His prerogative to unfold, to all souls who ever have lived, God’s master plan for the human race and the contribution (or the resistance) which each of us has given to that plan.

GOD’S MASTER PLAN

The world’s end and the accompanying general judgment are events which, to most of us, are of speculative rather than practical interest. Of more immediate concern are the twin facts that the world will end for us individually at the moment of our own death; and that the real determination of our fate will be in our own particular judgment.

WE SHALL SEE THE NAKED REALITY WHICH IS ‘I’

We do not know just what form the particular judgment will take. Many theologians are of the opinion that each of us will be his own judge. In the instant that we shed our mortal body, we also shall shed all the limitations, all the handicaps under which our intelligence has laboured. All the rationalisations and self-deceptions by which we have glossed over our sins and absolved ourselves of responsibility, will evaporate. For the first time, stripped of all subterfuge, we shall see the naked reality which is ‘I’.

THE SHADOWLESS LIGHT OF AFTER-DEATH

But there is a positive side to the picture. We also shall see for the first time all the hidden elements which have been factors in our behaviour, all the subconscious influences which often have coloured our judgments and have left us less free than we thought. Some of our sins may show up larger than we have estimated them, but other sins may show up, under the shadowless light of after-death, as much more excusable than we had suspected.

ONLY TWO READINGS ON THE SCALE

There will be no need of a special pronouncement from God to tell us where the balance lies. We can read the scale plainly for ourselves.

There are only two readings on the scale. Death has found me and forever fixed me either in an attitude of love toward God, or in an attitude of rejection toward Him. Either I have been committed, however imperfectly, to the doing of God’s will, or I have repudiated His will in favour of my own. Whichever has been my choice in life, I cannot change it now. I have made my own future and I must live that future forever.

I HAVE MADE MY OWN FUTURE

If, in that moment of absolute truth which follows after death, I am able to say, ‘My God, I love You!’ then I am home. It matters little if there first must be a process of cleansing to purify my soul for union with the all-holy God. I am HOME, that is the important thing. My hunger for God will make all delay painful, but it will be a joyful pain. If not immediately, at least quickly I shall know the breathless ecstasy of God’s embrace.

THAT MOMENT OF ABSOLUTE TRUTH

If death discovers me void of love for God [love of own will etc.], then I have separated myself from God forever. There is no way of kindling that spark of love beyond the grave. I have chosen for myself the awful loneliness of an eternity without God and my self-love is bitter in my mouth. I have chosen hell.

THIS IS A POINT TO REMEMBER

This is a point to remember – that hell is not a vindictive punishment imposed by an angry God. Hell is the loveless state freely chosen (and it can only be FREELY chosen) by the individual himself. It is not a fate which one can incur by accident or in an unguarded moment of weakness.

There probably are many sinners whom we humans would judge to be deserving of hell who nevertheless escape that destiny because of ignorance, malformed personality or some other cause which has lessened their personal culpability. Beneath their lamentable behaviour, God may find some flicker of love for Himself. If there is anyone who looks for extenuating circumstances, it certainly is God.

Sparsely populated or not, hell remains a reality for anyone who values himself above God. But it is not to be feared by anyone who honestly can say, ‘My God, I do love You!'”
– Fr Leo J. Trese, 1966

 

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