An example told by a Saint of the dreaded Judgment we will all have to face

April 7, 2022 • 3 min

#Death #Example #FourLastThings #Justice #WhatTheSaintsSay

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 82
By Venerable Louis of Granada

St. John Climachus gives a no less striking example of a holy monk, which is so remarkable that I shall give it as nearly as possible in the Saint’s own words:

A religious named Stephen, who lived in the same desert with us, had a great desire to embrace a more solitary life. He had already acquired a reputation for sanctity, having been favored with the gift of tears and fasting and other privileges attached to the most eminent virtues.

Having obtained his superior’s permission, he built a cell at the foot of Mount Horeb, where Elias was honored by his marvellous vision of God. Though his life here was one of great sanctity, yet, impelled by a desire for still harder labors and greater perfection, he withdrew to a place called Siden, inhabited by holy anchorites who lived in the most complete solitude.

Here he continued for some years in the practice of the severest penance, cut off from all human intercourse or comfort, for his hermitage was seventy miles from any human habitation. As his life approached its term he felt a desire to return to his first cell at the foot of Mount Horeb, where dwelt two disciples, natives of Palestine.

Shortly after his arrival he was attacked by a fatal illness. The day before his death he fell into a state resembling ecstasy. He gazed first at one side of his bed, then at the other, and, as if engaged in conversation with invisible beings who were demanding an account of his life, was heard crying out in a loud voice.

Sometimes he would say; ‘It is true, I confess it; but I have fasted many years in expiation of that sin’; or, ‘It is false; that offence cannot be laid to my charge’; or, again, ‘Yes, but I have labored for the good of my neighbor so many years in atonement thereof.’ To other accusations he was heard to say; ‘Alas! I cannot deny it; I can only cast myself upon God’s mercy.’

Surely this was a thrilling spectacle. I cannot describe the terror with which we assisted at this invisible judgment. O my God! what will be my fate, if this faithful servant, whose life was one long penance, knew not how to answer some of the accusations brought against him?

If after forty years of retirement and solitude, if after having received the gift of tears, and such command over nature that, as I am credibly informed, he fed with his own hand a wild leopard which visited him, the saintly monk so trembled for judgment, and, dying, left us in uncertainty as to his fate, what have we not to fear who lead careless and indifferent lives?

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