Day 20 (Dec 16) The Dangers of the Careless Soul & Death (Advent Meditation)
The Dangers of the Careless Soul
1. There is in human nature a fatal tendency to procrastinate, especially when that which we know we ought to do is something to which we are naturally disinclined. All men are naturally disinclined to do violence to themselves, and force their pride and self-will to yield before the sway of Christ, to put on His yoke and carry His cross. Hence men put off and make excuses to themselves and fancy that what is difficult to them today will be easy to them tomorrow. O fatal mistake! Each day that we postpone the task of submission it becomes more difficult, more distasteful. Why then do I not hasten to submit myself entirely to Christ?
2. From day to day the careless soul thus goes on putting off, crying: “Tomorrow I will amend my ways;” and when tomorrow comes, it still cries: “Tomorrow.” How fatal is this folly! Tomorrow may never come, or, if it comes, you may have forfeited the grace. “Today, if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”
3. This postponement is always accompanied by some deliberate disobedience to the commands or to the holy inspirations of the Spirit of God. Thus the careless soul becomes more engrossed in earthly things and more and more disinclined to make the necessary effort. Thus it is that so many will be surprised by the coming of their Judge at the moment when they least expect Him, and are quite unprepared to meet Him. O Jesus, save me at any cost from the deadly state of the careless soul!
It is appointed unto men once to die. (Heb. ix. 27.)
1. Why is death a terror to men? Because it is the punishment of sin, the penalty that was attached by God Himself to the first transgression of His law — “In the day that thou eatest of it thou shalt die the death.” For this reason we shrink from it as the mark and sign of our fallen and degraded condition. Disease, corruption, old age, decay are its forerunners, and are invested with the same reproach as testimonies to our being born in sin.
2. Death is the end of our time of trial. After it our destiny will be irrevocably fixed. No more chance of doing penance, no more opportunities of contrition, no more merit, no more grace, no more calls to repentance, no more hope for those who reject God in this life. No wonder, then, that men dread it. Yet death is standing at our very doors; at any moment the King of Terrors may summon us away. Am I prepared for the summons?
3. Yet to those who love God death loses all its terrors. For them it is the beginning of their true life. All their hopes have been directed to the unseen world; why should they fear? Their heart is in heaven and their treasure is in heaven, their King and Lord is there, and all their dearest and best friends, and the angels and the saints. How happy are those who are thus detached from this world and ever look to the world to come!
Pray for a happy death!
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