Considerations of the birth, life, and death of man, to combat Pride

November 1, 2021 • 3 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 325
By Venerable Louis of Granada

After this reflect on that astonishing example of humility given us by the Son of God, Who for love of us took upon Himself a nature so infinitely beneath His own, and “became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” [Phil. ii. 8.]

Let the example of your God teach you, O man! to be obedient. Learn, O dust! to humble yourself. Learn, O clay! to appreciate your baseness. Learn from your God, O Christian! to be “meek and humble of heart.” [St. Matt. xi. 29.] If you disdain to walk in the footsteps of men, will you refuse to follow your God, Who died not only to redeem us but to teach us humility?

Look upon yourself and you will find sufficient motives for humility.

Consider what you were before your birth, what you are since your birth, and what you will be after death. Before your birth you were, for a time, an unformed mass; now a fair but false exterior covers what is doomed to corruption; and in a little while you will be the food of worms. Upon what do you pride yourself, O man! whose birth is ignominy, whose life is misery, whose end is corruption?

If you are proud of your riches and worldly position, remember that a few years more and death will make us all equal. We are all equal at birth with regard to our natural condition; and as to the necessity of dying, we shall all be equal at death, with this important exception: that those who possessed most during life will have most to account for in the day of reckoning.

“Examine,” says St. Chrysostom, “the graves of the rich and powerful of this world, and find, if you can, some trace of the luxury in which they lived, of the pleasures they so eagerly sought and so abundantly enjoyed. What remains of their magnificent retinues and costly adornments?”

“What remains of those ingenious devices destined to gratify their senses and banish the weariness of life? What has become of that brilliant society by which they were surrounded? Where are the numerous attendants who awaited their commands? Nothing remains of their sumptuous banquets. The sounds of laughter and mirth are no longer heard; a sombre silence reigns in these homes of the dead.”

“But draw nearer and see what remains of their earthly tenements, their bodies which they loved too much. Naught but dust and ashes, worms and corruption.”

This is the inevitable fate of the human body, however tenderly and delicately nurtured. Ah! would to God that the evil ended here! But more terrible still is all that follows death: the dread tribunal of God’s justice; the sentence passed upon the guilty; the weeping and gnashing of teeth; the tortures of the worm that never dies; and the fire which will never be extinguished.

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