A short story about spiritual riches vs worldly pleasures

December 20, 2021 • 3 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 128
By Venerable Louis of Granada

The annals of the Cistercian Order mention an incident which, in connection with our subject, is worth recording:

Arnulph, a man of prominence in Flanders, who was strongly wedded to the things of this world, was converted by the preaching of St. Bernard. He was so touched by grace that he became a Cistercian monk.

On a certain occasion he fell dangerously sick and remained unconscious for some time. The monks, believing him to be dying, administered Extreme Unction.

But soon after his consciousness returned, and he broke out into transports of praise, frequently repeating: “How true are Thy words, O merciful Jesus!”

To the questions of his brethren he continued to repeat: “How true are Thy words, O merciful Jesus!”

Some of them remarked that pain had made him delirious. “No, my brethren,” he exclaimed; “I am conscious, I am in full possession of my senses, and again I assure you that all the words Jesus has uttered are true.”

“But we do not doubt this,” said the monks; “why do you repeat it so often?”

“God tells us in the Gospel,” he answered, “that he who forsakes earthly affections for love of Him shall receive a hundred-fold in this world, and in the world to come life everlasting, and I have already experienced the truth of His promise. Great as my present pains are, I would not exchange them, with the anticipation of heavenly sweetness which they have procured me, for a hundred or a thousand-fold of the pleasures I forsook in the world. If a guilty sinner like me receive such sweetness and consolation in the midst of his pains, what must be the joys of perfect souls?”

The monks marvelled to hear a man of no learning speak so wisely, but recognized in his words the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, we must conclude that the just, though deprived of earthly blessings, enjoy the rewards promised to virtue in this life.

To convince you more fully of this we shall treat in the following chapters of the twelve privileges attached to virtue in this world. Taken as a whole, they are the twelfth motive for practising virtue. We shall treat of each, however, in a separate chapter.

Though some experience in the practice of virtue is necessary to comprehend what we are about to say, yet the want of it may be supplied by our faith in the Holy Scriptures, which firmly establish the doctrine we are teaching.

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