Day 19 (Dec 15) The Preparation for His Approach & The Punishment of Venial Sin (Advent Meditation)
The Preparation for His Approach
Who is there who does not desire to meet Jesus Christ, when He comes again, with joy and not with trembling? To insure this three things are necessary.
1. We must have friends among those who will come again with Him. Just as few die a happy death unless they have some advocates in heaven, so few indeed will meet Our Lord with joy unless they have some who will welcome them as having befriended them for Christ’s sake. Unless we have been men of supernatural charity, we shall stand defenseless on that day. Alas! how faint and feeble my charity has been! how little I have done to procure friends who will plead for me on that day!
2. We must also have had the thought of Jesus often present to our minds in life, if His coming is to be a joyful one to us. He must be no stranger to us. He must have been our guide, our friend, our master, our companion. We must have walked with God on earth, if we are to walk with Him in the celestial paradise. The more familiar has been our friendship with Him, the greater will be our happiness in meeting Him again.
3. We must also have carried our cross willingly after Him on earth, if we are to meet Him with a well-grounded confidence of a great reward in the kingdom which He has won for His elect. O how overflowing will be the delight of those who have lived mortified and self-denying lives for His sake! What a trifle will all their sufferings then appear in comparison with their abounding joy when the archangel’s trumpet sounds!
The Punishment of Venial Sin
Thou shall not go out from thence till thou repay the last farthing. (St. Matt. v. 26.)
Venial sin is the great evil in the world next to mortal sin, and therefore it deserves a punishment greater than all the miseries of earth. God has taught us what sort of an evil it is by one or two instances of the way in which He visits it in this life.
1. Moses; the friend of God, the chosen ruler of His people, the meekest of men, to whom God conversed as friend with friend, once committed a venial sin. He gave way to momentary impatience and lost his temper under provocation. For this God denied him admission into the promised land. After his long and faithful service, God sent him up to die on Mount Nebo before the Jordan was crossed. All the forty years of weary travel did not avail him; the venial sin cut him off before the goal was reached.
2. David, the man after God’s own heart, in a moment of vanity determined to number the people, boastfully priding himself on the strength of his fighting men. In punishment of this, God sent a pestilence which in less than three days destroyed seventy thousand of the Israelites. Jerusalem itself would have been decimated had not David entreated God to avert His destroying hand. How God must hate venial sin!
3. After death there will remain for most a debt to be still paid for venial sin. It is in purgatory that we shall see its true character. No earthly agony even approaches the agony of the purgatorial fire. The souls God loves must be tormented there till they have paid the last farthing. Alas! what do I still owe? Am I doing my best to pay the debt and avoid adding to it?
Beg for an intense dread of venial sin.
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