Friday, 27 February 2009

Meditation on death

Our reading in the Devout Life today and yesterday has been a series of meditations composed by St Francis de Sales to prepare the reader for his or her growth in virtue. Today they were all on rather bleak topics (sin, death, judgement and hell), but important topics for us to consider nonetheless! So read on if you dare...

Consider the uncertainty of the day of your death. O my soul, thou must one day quit this body. When will it be? Will it be in winter or in summer? In a town or in the country? In the day or in the night? Will it be without any warning, or with warning? Will it be the result of disease or of some accident? Wilt thou have time to confess or not? Wilt thou be assisted by thy confessor and spiritual director? Alas! we know nothing at all about any of these things. We only know that we shall die, and always sooner than we expect.

Consider that the world will then come to an end, as far as you are concerned, and that there will be no more of it for you; it will turn upside down before your eyes. Yes, for then pleasures, vanities, worldly joys, vain affections will appear as phantoms and shadows. Ah! wretch that I am, for the sake of what trifles and unrealities have I offended my God? You will see that you have forsaken God for the sake of nothing. On the contrary, devotion and good works will seem to you then so desirable and sweet: and why have I not followed this beautiful and pleasant path? Then the sins which used to seem very little will appear as big as mountains, and your devotion very small.

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