Meditations on the fear of Death and our Judgment before God

April 6, 2022 • 3 min

#Doctrine #Exhortation #FourLastThings #Justice #WhatTheSaintsSay

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 81
By Venerable Louis of Granada

Most powerful is this passion of fear. It magnifies trifles and makes remote evils appear as if present.

Now, since this is true of a slight apprehension, what will be the effect of the terror inspired by a danger so great and imminent?

The sinner, though still in life and surrounded by his friends, imagines himself already a prey to the torments of the reprobate.

His soul is rent at the sight of the possessions he must leave, while he increases his misery by envying the lot of those from whom he is about to be separated.

Yes, the sun sets for him at mid-day, for, turn his eyes where he will, all is darkness. No ray of light or hope illumines his horizon.

If he think of God’s mercy he feels that he has no claim upon it. If he think of God’s justice it is only to tremble for its execution. He feels that his day is past and that God’s time has come.

If he look back upon his life a thousand accusing voices sound in his ears.

If he turn to the present he finds himself stretched upon a bed of death.

If he look to the future he there beholds his Supreme Judge prepared to condemn him.

How can he free himself from so many miseries and terrors?

If, then, the circumstances which precede our departure are so terrible, what will be those which follow? If such be the vigil of this great day, what will be the day itself?

Man’s eyes are no sooner closed in death than he appears before the judgment-seat of God to render an account of every thought, every word, every action of his life.

If you would learn the severity and rigor of this judgment, ask not men who live according to the spirit of this world, for, like the Egyptians of old, they are plunged in darkness and are the sport of the most fatal errors.

Seek, rather, those who are enlightened by the true Sun of justice. Ask the Saints, and they will tell you, more by their actions than by their words, how terrible is the account we are to render to God.

David was a just man, yet his prayer was: “Enter not, O Lord! into judgment with Thy servant, for in Thy sight no man living shall be justified.” [Ps. cxiii. 2.]

Arsenius was also a great saint, and yet at his deatli he was seized with such terror at the thought of God’s judgment that his disciples, who knew the sanctity of his life, were much astonished, and said to him: “Father, why should you now fear?” To this he replied: “My children, this is no new fear which is upon me. It is one that I have known and felt during my whole life.”

It is said that St. Agatho at the hour of death experienced like terror, and having been asked why he, who had led such a perfect life, should fear, he simply answered: “The judgments of God are different from the judgments of men.”

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