Fifth Meditation: On Death

September 30, 2021 • 4 min

From Introduction to the Devout Life, page 25
By St. Francis de Sales


Fifth Meditation.—On Death.


  1. Place yourself in the presence of God.
  2. Beseech Him to grant you his grace.

Imagine yourself to be in extremity of sickness, on your death-bed, without any hope of recovery.


  1. Consider the uncertainty as to tħe time of your death: O my soul, thou must one day quit this body; but when shall that day be? Shall it be in winter or in summer? Shall it be suddenly or after notice given thee? By sickness or by accident? Shalt thou have leisure to confess thy sins? Shalt thou have the assistance of thy spiritual father? Alas! of all this we know nothing: certain only is it that we shall die, and that always sooner than we expect.

  2. Consider, that when the world shall end in regard to you—for this world will be no longer for you—it will perish before your eyes; for then the pleasures, the vanities, the worldly joys and fond affections of our lives will seem to us mere shadows and airy clouds. Ah, wretch! for what toys and trifles have I offended God? You shall then see that for a mere nothing you have forsaken Him. On the contrary, devotion and good works will then seem to you sweet and delightful. Oh, why did I not follow this fair and pleasant path? Then sins, which seemed but little, will appear as huge as mountains, and your devotion very small.

  3. Consider the long, languishing farewell your soul must then give this world; she will then take her leave of its riches and vanities, and of all idle company; of pleasures, pastimes, friends, and neighbours; of kindred and children; of husband and wife; in short, of every creature; and, finally, of her very body, which she must leave pale, hideous, and loathsome.

  4. Consider with what haste they will carry away that body, to hide it under the earth; which done, the world will think no more of you than you thought of others who died; “God’s peace be with him,” they will say, and that is all. O Death, how void art thou of regard or pity!

  5. Consider how the soul, having departed from the body, takes her way to the right or to the left! Alas! whither shall yours go? What way shall it take for eternity? No other than that which it begun here in this world.


  1. Pray to God, and cast yourself into his arms: Alas! O my God, receive me under thy protection on that dreadful day; make that hour happy and favourable to me; rather than it should not be so, let all the other days of my life be sad and sorrowful.

  2. Despise the world: Seeing that I know not the hour at which I must leave thee, O wretched world, I will no more fix my love upon thee. O my dear friends and relations, pardon me if I love you only in future with a holy friendship, which may last eternally; for why should I unite myself to you in such a way as to be forced to break and dissolve the knot afterwards?

  3. I will, then, prepare myself for that hour, and take all requisite precautions to end this journey happily: I will secure the state of my conscience to the utmost of my ability, and take immediate care to repair the defects to which I am subject.


Give thanks to God for all those resolutions which He has given you: offer them to his Divine Majesty. Beseech of Him to give you a happy death, by the merits of his dearly-beloved Son. Implore the assistance of the Blessed Virgin, and of the saints. Pater, Ave, Credo. [Here make a spiritual nosegay.]

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