Life is very short, and the world to come already dawns upon us. Choose boldly a life devoted to Christ. Be His above all ; be His only. Hear the Church saying, “My Beloved is mine, and I am His.”
Every day we might attain we know not what; every day, it may be, loses or wins something of the brightness of the Resurrection. All we do or leave undone has its counterpart in the unseen world ; and what then is life, and what is the world, to that day, when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of His glory ? Forsake all, rather than forfeit your reward, rather than be set far off from Him when He cometh in to order the guests that are bidden to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
Remember that you are immortal; realize your own immortality. Remember it all day long, in all places; live as men whose every act is ineifaceably recorded, whose every change may be recorded for ever.
We are not what we seem to others, nor what we think ourselves, but what we are before God; and neither more nor less.
The world’s kisses are death to the hidden life.
Evil men, evil lives, evil examples, spread a moral pestilence openly and powerfully ; but nothing spreads falsehood and evil more surely and deeply than a bad book. A bad book is falsehood and sin in a permanent and impersonal form; all the more dangerous because disguised, and tenacious in its action upon the soul.
Personal service is the best and most pleasing gift we can offer to our Lord in His poor. It is better than gold and silver. To give time, care, and sympathy in the miserable homes of the poor, is the best oblation we can make to Him, Who gave Himself for us.
All works of charity are good, but the surest and best of all are two: the education of children and of priests. Our Blessed Lord formed twelve men, and they created the Christian world, in all its fertility and multiplication of supernatural fruits. He has bequeathed to us all the continuance of this work.
Take the crucifix in your hand, and ask yourselves whether this is the religion of the soft, easy, worldly, luxurious days in which we live; whether the crucifix does not teach you a lesson of mortification, of self-denial, of crucifixion of the flesh.
There is no security for perseverance except in always advancing. To stand still is impossible. A boat ascending a running stream falls back as soon as it ceases to advance. To hold its place is impossible, unless it gain upon the stream. So in the spiritual life.
We are always unconsciously affecting other men with a power which, could we fully know it, would make us tremble. Our thoughtless actions, random words, unguarded hints, our very tones, even our gestures, in our most relaxed hours, leave impressions on other men such as we neither design nor imagine.
The happiness of life, the happiness of home, the happiness of your past, where is it? You have to look back for it; it is gone, or it is going, transient and fleeting; and in a little while it will be no longer. But in the kingdom of God, that life, ever new, of body, of mind, of soul, of home, of happiness, of perfect identity, of mutual recognition, of restored bonds, of love perfected and transfigured in the kingdom of the Resurrection, shall all be changeless and eternal.
When the Church suffers anywhere, it is felt everywhere. Every persecution wounds the whole body; every benediction is a common joy. Because we are members one of another, there is a perfect sympathy binding the whole Church together.
The answers to prayer, through the intercession of Mary, in every age of the Church, and in every state of life, and in all manner of trials, public and private, have taught the faithful that she bears an office of power and patronage over us.
Fashions of dress come from some obscure room, in some luxurious and corrupt city, where, by a sort of secret society of folly, rules are laid down, and decrees come forth year after year, which are followed with a servility and, I may say, with a want of Christian matronly dignity, so that the foolish fashion that some foolish person has foolishly invented is propagated all over the civilized countries of Europe. Our forefathers and the women of another age did not bend and undulate with every wind that is wafted over the sea.
It is more generous, it is more in conformity with the example set us by our Divine Lord and Master, to deny ourselves in many things that are lawful. Apply this to dress, to pleasures, to amusements, to the expenditure you make on yourself, to your domestic and private life, and you will find a wide field for its application.
Take nothing lower than the Heart of our Divine Lord as the measure and the rule of your own. Do not take any lower standard. Do not take the examples of men. Do not take maxims or motives of your own. Set before you the Sacred Heart in its full and divine perfection.
Frequent Confession and frequent Communion are the two fountains of the knowledge which comes from the experience of the love and tenderness of God in Jesus Christ.
The very strength and life of all self-discipline is order, certainty, and decision. Our true safeguard against temptation is to be the same at all times, in all companies, in all places; not to vary and adapt ourselves to the humour of others, thereby adopting their temptations with their habits, but to be always and everywhere ourselves, and to oppose to the temptations of the world the consistency of a matured and practised habit of self control.
Do your little duties, which most men make light of, with great exactness; for if you will faithfully do your lesser duties, your greater duties, I may say, will take care of themselves.
Alas for the man that is too busy to pray, for he is too busy to be saved! Alas for us ! What would they judge those Saints of old, who wore the very stones with their perpetual kneeling?
Be this our one end in life, to cleanse our hearts, that we may behold more and more of the beauty and the splendour of the Divine Presence, that we may see God in all His creatures, in all His providence, in all the events and changes, and the calls and chastisements of life.
We are most liable to temptation at times when we think ourselves least likely to be overcome; when things have been going on smoothly; when we have been long unmolested by assaults. There are times when we have need to watch with tenfold care, lest, through our slackness of security, peace should be more dangerous to us than temptation.
We are sent into this world, that by our own will and choice we should determine our eternal portion. Our eternal state will be no more than the carrying out of what we are now.
How different all will look upon a deathbed! Then a new and true light will reveal a multitude of secrets, and show much that we never believed possible. How different all will appear when we look back upon our earthly life from the world beyond the grave in the hour of the particular judgment, and at the moment of entering Purgatory, and at the general judgment of the last day! Then all masks shall be taken off from all faces, and we shall know as we are known, and see as we are seen. Then many who have seemed to know each other, parents, children, friends, pastors, penitents shall know each other for the first time, and wonder at the vain show in which they lived and died.
All depends on perseverance. Without this nothing avails. The grace and perfection and splendour of the Angels could not save them. The daily fellowship with Jesus, His doctrines and miracles, and three years of His presence, did not save Judas. The gift of regeneration, and of the sacraments of grace, were all in vain to Ananias and Sapphira. All alike lacked one thing, and that one thing lacking lost them all things. They had not perseverance; and though they had everything else, nothing without this was of any avail.
Live as you would wish to die, because as you die, so you will be to all eternity. Precisely that character which you have woven for yourself through life, by the voluntary acts of free will, be it for good or for evil, that will be your eternal state before God. As the tree falls, so shall it be. Make one mistake, and that mistake is made for ever.
It is so easy for men to be lost. Look back only on your own life. It has been perhaps chequered all along alternately with states of sin and states of grace. It may be there have been seasons of mortal sin only for a day, in which, if God had cut us off before the sun went down, salvation would have been impossible to all eternity.
Fervour consists in these three things-regularity, punctuality, and exactness. That is, doing our duty to God by rule; doing it punctually at the right time and exactly, that is, as perfectly as we can.
It would make us all fervent if, when we go to the Altar, we were to say, ” This may be my last Communion; ” or, in our Confession, ‘ This may be my last Absolution.”
What matter, then, a little pain, a little sorrow, a little penance, a few crosses, if, after a little while, there be an inheritance of eternal joy ?