We should do everything to avoid Hell while we still can

December 11, 2022 • 3 min

#Death #Exhortation #Hell #Penance

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 94
By Venerable Louis of Granada

Why, then, will we not help one another while we can? Why will we not render glory to God before the sun of His justice has set for us?

Better let our tongues be parched with privation and fasting during the short space of this life, than by sinful indulgence expose ourselves to an eternal thirst.

If we can hardly endure a few days of fever, how will we bear the parching thirst and burning torments of that fire which will never die?

If we are so appalled at a sentence of death pronounced by an earthly judge, which, at most, deprives us of but forty or fifty years of life, with what feelings will we hear that sentence which deprives us of an immortal life and condemns us to an eternity of misery?

With what horror we read of the tortures inflicted by executioners upon malefactors; yet the most cruel are only shadows compared to the eternal torments of the life to come.

The former end with this life; but in hell the worm of conscience shall never die, the executioner shall never grow weary, the fire shall never be extinguished.

What, then, will be the feelings of the wicked when suddenly transported from the midst of earthly happiness to this abyss of unspeakable miseries? In vain will they denounce their blindness and bewail the graces they refused.

What can the pilot do when the ship is lost? Of what use is the physician when the patient is dead?

Whither will we turn, on that terrible day, when the heavens and the earth, the sun, moon, and stars, when all creatures, will raise their voices against us to testify the evil we have committed?

But even were these silent, our own consciences would still accuse us.

These reflections, dear Christian, we have gathered chiefly from the writings of St. John Chrysostom. Do they not prove the necessity of living with the fear of this supreme judgment constantly before us?

This fear was never absent from the heart of St. Ambrose, notwithstanding the vigilant fervor of his life. “Woe is me,” he exclaims in his commentary on St. Luke—“woe is me if I weep not for my sins! Woe is me, O Lord! if I rise not in the night to confess and proclaim the glory of Thy name! Woe is me if I do not dissipate the errors of my brethren and cause the light of truth to burn before their eyes, for the axe is now laid to the root of the tree.”

Let him, therefore, who is in a state of grace bring forth fruits of justice and salvation. Let him who is in a state of sin bring forth fruits of penance, for the time approaches when the Lord will gather His fruit; and He will give eternal life to those who have labored courageously and profitably, and eternal death to those whose works are barren and useless.

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