The Bible exhorts us to give God our service in our youth, not to wait until old age

December 8, 2021 • 3 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 247
By Venerable Louis of Granada

I shall conclude this chapter with a passage from Ecclesiastes in which man is exhorted to give himself to the service of his Creator in his youth, and not to defer it till old age, the infirmities of which are described under curious and admirable figures:

Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth, before the time of affliction comes, and the years draw nigh of which thou shalt say: They please me not; before the sun, and the light, and the moon, and the stars be darkened;

When the keepers of the house [that is, the hands] shall tremble, and the strong men [the legs, which support the frame] shall stagger, and the teeth shall be few and idle;

When they that looked through the eyes [the faculties of the soul] shall be darkened; when they shall shut the doors in the street [that is, the senses, by which we communicate with the outer world];

When man shall rise with the bird [for old age requires little sleep]; when all the daughters of music shall grow deaf [for the organs of the voice grow weak and narrow];

When man shall fear high things and be afraid in the way [for old age shuns a steep and rugged way, and trembles as it walks]; when the almond-tree shall flourish [that is, when the head shall be crowned with white hair];

When man shall enter the house of his eternity [which is the tomb]; when his friends shall lament and mourn for him; and when dust shall return to the earth whence it came, and the spirit shall return to God Who gave it. [Eccles. xii. 1-8.]

Therefore, defer not your repentance until old age, when virtue will seem a necessity rather than a choice, and when it may be said that your vices have left you, rather than that you have left them.

Remember, however, that old age is generally what youth has been; for, as the sacred writer observes, “how shalt thou find in thy old age the things thou hast not gathered in thy youth?” [Ecclus. xxv. 5.]

Let me urge you, then, in the words of the same inspired author, to “give thanks whilst thou art living and in health, to praise God and glory in His mercies.” [Ecclus. xvii. 27.]

Among those who waited at the pool of Bethsaida [St. John v. 4] he only was cured who first plunged into the water after it had been moved by the Angel. The salvation of our soul, in like manner, depends upon the promptness and submission with which we obey the inspiration with which God moves us.

Delay not, therefore, dear Christian, but make all the haste you can; and if, as the prophet says, “you shall hear His voice to-day,” [Ps. xciv. 6.] defer not your answer till to-morrow, but set about a work the difficulty of which will be so much lessened by a timely beginning.

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