The happiness of this life is subject to innumerable sudden changes

October 17, 2021 • 2 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 293

Consider also the innumerable changes to which human happiness is exposed in this valley of tears, this land of exile, this tempestuous sea which we call the world.

The days of man on earth scarcely suffice to number his sorrows, for almost every hour brings new cares, new anxieties, or new miseries.

Who can fitly describe these? Who can count all the infirmities of the body, all the passions of the soul, all the disasters which come upon us not only from our enemies, but even from our friends and from ourselves?

One disputes your inheritance; another attempts your life. You are pursued by hatred, calumny, envy, revenge, and by a lying tongue, the most dangerous of all.

Add to these miseries the innumerable accidents which daily befall us. One man loses an eye; another an arm; a third one is thrown from a horse or falls from a window; while still another loses all he possesses through succoring a friend.

If you would know more of these miseries ask worldlings to tell you the sum of their sorrows and their joys. If balanced in the scales of truth you will find that their disappointments far outweigh their pleasures.

Since, then, human life is so short, and so constantly beset with miseries, what possibility is there of knowing real happiness in this world?

The vicissitudes of which we have been speaking are common to the good and the wicked, for both sail on the same sea and are exposed to the same storms.

There are other miseries, however, which, as the fruits of iniquity, are the portion of the wicked. “We wearied ourselves in the way of iniquity and destruction,” they tell us by the Wise Man, “and have walked through hard ways, but the way of the Lord we have not known.” [Wisdom v. 7.]

Thus, while the just pass from a paradise in this life to Heaven in the next, from the peace of virtue to the rest of their eternal reward, the wicked pass from a hell in this life to an eternal hell in the next, from the torments of an evil conscience to the unspeakable tortures of the undying worm.

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