July 14th On the examination of the soul in judgement
Consider first, my soul, what an account will be here demanded of thy stewardship. For thou shalt be here examined how thou hast discharged thyself of every branch of thy duty, both in general and particular to thy God, to thy neighbour and to thyself? How thou hast employed all thy precious time? What use thou hast made of the talents God has intrusted thee with? In what manner thou hast corresponded with the graces thou hast received: What profit thou hast reaped from the sacraments, from the word of God, and from the favourable circumstances in which God has placed thee? How thou hast acquitted thyself of the duties of thy calling, &c. O! poor wretch, what wilt thou be able to answer under so strict an examination, where thy all is at stake for eternity? ‘O what shall I do,’ said holy Job, (chap. xxxi. 14.,) ‘when God shall arise to judge? And when he shall examine, what shall I answer him?’ Alas! who shall be able to endure his scrutiny, or ‘to answer one thing for a thousand! O Lord, enter not into judgment with thy servants; for in thy sight no man living shall be justified,’ Ps. cxlii.
Consider 2ndly, that at this great trial the whole history of thy life shall be set before thee; and all thy hidden sins, all thy sins of commission or omission, even to every idle word and every thought and motion of thy heart, shall be exposed in their true colours. Ah! what treasures of iniquity shall here come to light when the veil shall be removed which hides at present the greatest part of our sins from the eyes of the world, and even from our own, and it shall be said of us – Behold the man with all his works; behold all his abominations; behold all his pride and contempt of God; behold all his filth, & c. O my soul, how shalt thou be able to bear such a sight! O let us then make it our study now to know our sins, and to efface them by penance while we have time, that they may not then appear in judgment against us and condemn us at the bar.
Consider 3rdly, that the poor soul shall not only be brought here to a strict examination with regard to all the evil she has done and to all the good she has left undone during the whole time of her pilgrimage in this mortal body, but even all the good she thinks she has done, the very best of her works, her prayers, her fasts, her alms-deeds, her confessions and communions shall all be nicely sifted, as well with relation to the intention with which she has undertaken them as to the manner in which she has performed them, & c. And all shall be weighed, not in the deceitful balance of the judgment of men but in the unerring scales of the sanctuary – that is, of divine justice – in which the works that are most admired by deluded mortals are often found to be of no weight at all. Alas! poor soul, what astonishment, what anguish, what confusion shall it be to thee to see so many things rise up in judgment against thee, now charged upon thee as heinous sins, of which in thy lifetime thou hast made but small account, and to find at the same time that those good works with which thou wast in hopes the scales should be turned in thy favour have either not been accepted for want of just weight, or have been corrupted and vitiated by pride or self-love?
Conclude to have always before thy eyes the exact account thou must one day give of every thought, word, deed, and omission of thy whole life. Remember they all pass from thy hands to the hands of God, to be recorded in his great book, by which thou art to be tried: see thou order them accordingly.