Practical Reflection 1

How powerfully do the fear of God’s judgments and the dread of a miserable eternity act as a restraint upon our passions, arrest the sallies of temper, and oblige us to withdraw from the allurements and pleasures of sin! To what end (let us say to ourselves in time of temptation) is the criminal pleasure of this sin of revenge, impurity, anger, injustice, or lying? To afford myself a momentary gratification. And should I die immediately after having yielded, without repentance, without the Sacraments (which may happen, and which does happen to thousands), where will this sinful enjoyment terminate? In a miserable eternity. A momentary pleasure, an eternity of pain! No, I will not expose myself to the danger of being miserable forever for the sake of a moment of pleasure. How true it is, according to the Wise Man, that to avoid sin, at least habitual sin, we must remember our last end. Did we frequently and seriously reflect that we must one day give an exact account of our consciences, of the conduct of our whole lives, of all our sins, to a Judge who knows and remembers all things, who would not be terrified at the apprehension of Judgment, and of the terrible account we are then to give, and would not watch over himself, and endeavor to correct all his faults? Let us be convinced that the sure way to avoid condemnation in the next life is to condemn and punish ourselves in this.

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