Evening Meditations for the Second Wednesday after Epiphany ~ Alphonsus Liguori

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Evening Meditation

THE EMPTINESS AND SHORTNESS OF HUMAN LIFE

I.

Holy David said that the happiness of this life is as the dream of one awaking from sleep: As the dream of them that awake (Ps. lxxii. 20). All the greatness and glory of this world will appear no more to poor worldlings at the hour of death than a dream to one awaking from sleep, who finds that the fortune he had acquired in his dreams ends with his sleep. Hence did one who was undeceived wisely write on the skull of a dead man: Cogitanti omnia vilescunt: To one who thinks, all things are worthless. Yes, to him who thinks on death, all the goods of this life appear, as they really are, vile and transitory. Nor can that man fix his affections on the earth who reflects that in a short time he must leave it forever. Ah, my God, how often have I despised Thy grace for the miserable goods of this world! From henceforth I desire to think of nothing but of loving and serving Thee. Assist me with Thy Holy grace.

And is it thus then, that worldly grandeur and sovereign power must end! Such was the exclamation of St. Francis Borgia, when he beheld the corpse of the Empress Isabella, who had died in the flower of her youth. Reflecting upon what he saw, he resolved to bid adieu to the world, and to give himself entirely to God, saying: I will henceforward serve a master who will never forsake me. Let us detach ourselves from the goods of the present life before death tears us away from them. What folly it is to expose ourselves to the danger of losing our souls, for the sake of some attachment to this miserable world, from which we shall soon have to depart, for soon it will be said to us by the minister of God: Go forth, Christian soul, out of this world! O my Jesus that I had always loved Thee! How many offences have I been guilty of against Thee! Teach me how to correct my disorderly life, for I am willing to do whatever Thou pleasest. Accept of my love, accept of my repentance, in which I love Thee more than myself, and crave Thy mercy and compassion.

II.

Reflect that you cannot remain for ever in this world. You must one day leave the country in which you now reside; you must one day go out from the house in which you now dwell, to return to it no more. Think that many before you inhabited the same room in which you are at present reading; that they slept in the same bed in which you are accustomed to sleep: and where are they now? Gone into eternity. The same will happen to you. Make me to understand, O God, the injustice I have been guilty of in turning my back upon Thee, my Sovereign Good; and grant me sorrow to bewail my ingratitude as I ought. O that I had died rather than ever offend Thee. Suffer me not to live any longer ungrateful for the love Thou hast shown me. My dear Redeemer, I love Thee above all things and I desire to love Thee with all my strength during the remainder of my life. Strengthen my weakness by Thy grace. And do thou, O Mary, Mother of God, intercede for me. Amen.

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