Today’s ✠Challoner Meditation: January 24th On the vanity of all those things, that keep worldlings from the service of God

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by
✠Challoner Meditation January 24th

JANUARY 24TH

ON THE VANITY OF ALL THOSE THINGS, THAT KEEP WORLDLINGS FROM THE SERVICE OF GOD

Consider first, how truly vain all those things are which poor deluded worldlings prefer before their God – empty bubbles, mere toys and trifles, false appearances, deceitful baits, laid by the enemy to catch their souls; gilded pills, that conceal a deadly poison; deluding dreams and airy phantoms, that will all vanish away in a moment, and leave both their hands, and their hearts empty; and then, the scene will change, and their fool’s paradise of an imaginary happiness, shall turn to real, dreadful, and everlasting evils. ‘O ye children of men, how long will ye be in love with vanity?’ how long will you run after mere lies, and deceit? Reflect upon those that have gone before you; upon those that have enjoyed the most of what this world could afford of honours, riches, and pleasures; and tell me what judgment you think they make of them now. O they will certainly cry out with Solomon, (Eccles. ii. 11,) that in all these things they found nothing but ‘vanity and vexation of spirit.’ They will loudly condemn their own past folly and madness, in having set their hearts upon such toys, to the loss of God, and their souls.

Consider 2ndly, and take a nearer view of these worldly idols, these phantoms of honours, riches and pleasures; and see with what toil they are acquired, with what care and fears they are possessed, and how easily they are lost; what great evils they are exposed to; what a slavery they bring along with them; how short and how inconstant they are; how false and deceitful; how often embittered with gall; how mean, and unworthy the affections of a Christian; how far beneath the dignity of an immortal soul, made for nothing less than God; and how incapable of giving any solid content or satisfaction to a heart that can never rest but in its Maker. O how truly miserable then are all these children of Babylon, who are enslaved to things so base, so vile, so filthy! How wretched is that life that is all spent in this manner, in weaving cobwebs, in running after butterflies, in catching at shadows; in squandering away those precious hours that were given to secure to the soul a happy eternity; in impertinent amusements, in idle, foolish, and often sinful conversation; in dressing out, or pampering a carcass, that must quickly be the food of worms; in public haunts, in hanging over a pack of cards, in reading love tales and romances, and such like empty fooleries. Surely such a life as this must be most irksome and tedious, void of all true content, joy, peace, or comfort here, and of all prospect of happiness hereafter.

Consider 3rdly, how this folly and misery of worldlings is described by the prophet Isaia, ch. lix., where he tells them that they put their trust in that which is a mere nothing, that they speak vanities; that is, that their whole discourse and conversation is empty, foolish, and nothing to the purpose; that they conceive labour, and bring forth iniquity; that they are sitting day and night upon the eggs of asps, (most poisonous serpents,) which if they eat, will bring present death, and if they hatch, will turn out serpents, and destroy them; that all their works are but spending their bowels in weaving spiders’ webs, which can never clothe them – unprofitable works, fit for nothing but to catch flies; that their thoughts and devices are all vain and unprofitable, and that their ways lead to destruction; that their paths are crooked, and that there is no judgment in their steps; and that whosoever treaded in them, knoweth no peace. O see how pathetically the Holy Spirit has here described the pains and labours poor worldling take in their pursuit of lying madnesses, which bring all kind of evils and death to their souls, without any manner of real profit or pleasure, and learn thou to be more wise than to walk in their footsteps.

Conclude never to imitate this wretched choice of blind mortals, who turn away from God to follow cheating vanities; but to despise from thy heart all those childish toys, and to turn to the charming paths of wisdom, virtue, and truth.

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