Although there’s not much hope in death-bed repentances, there is Hope now while we still have time to turn to God and away from sin

December 13, 2021 • 4 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 262
By Venerable Louis of Granada

What we have said in this and the preceding chapters is not intended to close the door of hope or salvation against any one. Our only intention is to rout the sinner from the stronghold in which he entrenches himself that he may continue to sin.

Tell me, dear Christian, for the love of God, how you dare expose yourself to such peril when the Fathers of the Church, the Saints, Holy Scripture, and reason itself unite in warning you of the dangers attending a repentance deferred until the hour of death?

In what do you place your confidence? In the prayers and Masses you will have offered for you? In the money you will leave for good works? Alas! the foolish virgins filled their lamps at the last hour, but they called in vain upon the Bridegroom.

Do you think your tears will avail you at that time? Tears, no doubt, are powerful, and blessed is he who weeps in sincerity; but your tears, like those of Esau, who sold his birthright to satisfy his gluttony, will flow, not for your sins, but for what you have lost; and like his, as the Apostle tells us, they will flow in vain. [Heb. xii. 17.]

Will your promises and good resolutions help you? Good resolutions are excellent when sincere, but remember what edifying and valiant resolutions Antiochus formed when the hand of God had been laid upon him. Yet Holy Scripture tells us: “This wicked man prayed to the Lord, of Whom he was not to obtain mercy,” [2 Mach. ix. 13.] And why? Because his good purposes and resolutions sprang not from love, but from servile fear, which, though commendable, is not sufficient of itself to justify the sinner.

The fear of hell can arise from the love man naturally bears himself, but love of self gives us no right to Heaven. As no one clothed in sackcloth could enter the palace of Assuerus, [Esther iv. 2.] so no one can enter Heaven clothed in the dress of a slave—that is, with the garment of servile fear. We must be clothed wfith the wedding garment of love, if we would be admitted to the palace of the King of kings.

I conjure you, then, dear Christian, to think of this hour which must inevitably come to you. And it may not be far distant. But a few years, and you will experience the truth of my predictions.

You will find yourself distracted with pain, filled with anguish and terror at the approach of death and at the thought of the eternal sentence which is about to be pronounced upon you. Vainly will you then essay to change it, to soften its rigor.

But that which will be impossible then is not only possible but easily accomplished now, for it is in your own power to make your sentence what you will wish it at the hour of death.

Lose no time, therefore; hasten to propitiate your Judge. Follow the counsel of the prophet, and “seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near.” [Isaias iv. 6.]

He is now near to hear us, though we cannot see Him. On the day of judgment we shall see Him, but He will not hear us, unless we now live so as to merit this blessing from Him.

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