Morning Meditation for the Septuagesima Sunday ~ St Alphonsus Liguori

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Morning Meditation

“HE SENT THEM INTO HIS VINEYARD.” (Gospel of Sunday Matt. x. 1-16).

The Lord’s vines are our souls which He has given us to cultivate by good works that one day we may be admitted into eternal glory. Many live as if they were never to die, or as if they had not to give to God an account of their lives, as if there were no Heaven and no hell. They believe but they do not reflect. They take all possible care of worldly affairs, but attend not to the salvation of their souls. O my God, what shall my lot be? If I may be lost why do I not embrace such a life as may secure for me eternal life?


St. Paul says: We entreat you, brethren … that you do your own business (1 Thess. iv. 10). The greater number of people in the world are attentive to the business of this world. What diligence do they not employ to gain a law-suit or a good position! How many means are adopted — how many measures taken! They neither eat nor sleep. And what efforts do they make to save their souls? All blush at being told that they neglect their family affairs, and how few are ashamed to neglect the salvation of their souls! Brethren, says St. Paul, we entreat you that you do your own business; that is, the business of your eternal salvation.

“The trifles of children,” says St. Bernard, “are called trifles, but the trifles of men are called business,” — and for these trifles many lose their souls. If in one worldly transaction you suffer a loss, you may repair it in another; but if you die in enmity with God, and lose your soul, how can you repair the loss? What exchange shall a man give for his soul? (Matt. xvi. 26). To those who neglect the care of salvation, St. Eucherius says: “If thou dost not believe thy Creator how precious thou art, interrogate thy Redeemer.” If, from being created by God to His own image, you do not comprehend the value of your soul, learn it from Jesus Christ Who has redeemed you with His own Blood. You were not redeemed with corruptible things as gold or silver … but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled (1 Pet. i. 18).

God, therefore, sets a high value on your soul. Such is its value in the estimation of Satan, that, to become master of it, he sleeps not night or day, but is continually going about seeking to make it his own. Hence St. Augustine exclaims: “The enemy sleeps not, and dost thou sleep?” The enemy is always awake to injure you, and you slumber. Pope Benedict XII being asked by a prince for a favour he could not conscientiously grant, said to the ambassador: Tell the prince that if I had two souls, I might be able to lose one of them to please him; but, since I have only one, I cannot consent to lose it. Thus he refused the favour the prince sought from him.

O God, what shall my lot be? Shall I be saved, or shall I be lost? I may be either saved or lost! And if I may be lost, why do I not embrace such a life as may secure for me life eternal? O Jesus, Thou didst die to save me; yet I have been lost as often as I have lost Thee, my sovereign Good! Suffer me not to lose Thee any more.


Remember that, if you save your soul, your failure in every worldly transaction will be but of little consequence: for when you are saved, you shall enjoy complete happiness for all eternity. But if you lose your soul, what will it profit you to have enjoyed all the riches, honours and amusements of this world? For when you lose your soul, all is lost. What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul (Matt. xvi. 26). By this maxim St. Ignatius of Loyola drew many souls to God, and among them the soul of St. Francis Xavier who was then at Paris and devoted his attention to the acquirement of worldly goods. One day St. Ignatius said to him: “Francis, whom do you serve? You serve the world, a traitor that promises but does not perform. And if it should fulfil all its promises, how long do its goods last? Can they last longer than this life? And after death, what will they profit you if you shall not have saved your soul?” He then reminded Francis of the maxim of the Gospel: What doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul?

But one thing is necessary! (Luke x. 42). It is not necessary to become rich on this earth to acquire honours and dignities; but it is necessary to save our souls; because unless we gain Heaven we shall be condemned to hell: there is no middle place: we must be either saved or damned. God has not created us for this earth; neither does He preserve our lives here on earth that we may become rich and enioy amusements. And the end life everlasting (Rom. vi. 22). He has created us, and preserved us, that we may acquire eternal glory.

O Jesus, my Redeemer, cast me not away from Thy face as I have deserved! I am indeed a sinner; but I grieve from the bottom of my heart for having offended Thy infinite goodness. Hitherto I have despised Thee, but now I love Thee above all things. Henceforth Thou alone shalt be my only Good, my only Love. Have pity on a sinner who penitently casts himself at Thy feet, and desires to love Thee. If I have grievously offended Thee, I now ardently desire to love Thee. What would have become of me, if Thou hadst called me out of life when I had lost Thy grace and favour? Since Thou, O Lord, hast shown so much mercy to me, grant me grace to become a Saint.

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