Neither Riches, Honors, Pleasures, or Friends can help us at the Hour of Death; only Virtues will avail us then

November 28, 2021 • 3 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 231
By Venerable Louis of Granada

If at this critical hour riches could help him as they do at many other periods of life, the evil would be less.

But he will receive no succor from his riches, his honors, his dignities, his distinguished friends.

The only patronage which will then avail him will be that of virtue and innocence. “Riches,” says the Wise Man, “shall not profit in the day of revenge, but justice shall deliver from death.” [Prov. xi. 4.]

As the wicked, therefore, receive at the hour of death the punishment of their crimes, so do the just then receive the reward of their virtues.

“With him that feareth the Lord,” says the Holy Ghost, "it shall go well in the latter end; “and in the day of his death he shall be blessed.” [Ecclus. i. 13.]

St. John declares this truth still more forcibly when he tells us that he heard a voice from Heaven commanding him: “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. From henceforth, saith the Spirit, they rest from their labors, for their works follow them.” [Apoc. xiv. 13.]

With such a promise from God Himself how can the just man fear? Can he dread that hour in which he is to receive the reward of his life’s labors?

Since, as we read in Job, he has put away iniquity, brightness like that of the noonday shall arise to him at evening, and when he shall think himself consumed he shall rise as the day-star. [Job. xi. 14, 17.]

Explaining these words, St. Gregory says that the light which illumines the close of the just man’s life is the splendor of that immortal glory which is already so near.

When others, therefore, are weighed down by sadness and despair, he is full of confidence and joy. For this reason Solomon has said that the wicked shall be rejected because of their wickedness, but the just man hath hope in the hour of his death. [Prov. xiv. 32.]

What more striking example of this confident hope can we find than that of the glorious St. Martin? Seeing the devil beside his bed at the hour of death, he cried out: “What dost thou here, cruel beast? Thou wilt find no mortal sin in my soul by which thou mayest bind me. I go, therefore, to enjoy eternal peace in Abraham’s bosom.”

Equally touching and beautiful was the confidence of our holy Father, St. Dominic. Seeing the religious of his order weeping around his bed, he said to them: “Weep not, my children, for I can do you more good where I am going than I could ever hope to do on earth.” How could the fear of death overcome one who so confidently hoped to obtain Heaven not only for himself but also for his disciples?

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