Yesterday I started posting on a book of Excerpts from Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Preparation For Death. I have decided to turn this into a mini online retreat based on a suggested plan at the end of the book.
There is a question that almost screams from every page. Am I ready to die? In other words, am I ready to meet Jesus, as judge, face to face? Have I persevered in faith and love and holiness so that I will be worthy to live in God’s house?
To do this we have to be detached from this world. We live in the world, but we do not belong to the world (Jn 17:14).
Our gaze should always be focused on heaven through the cross. The early Christian martyrs were able to go to gruesome deaths, because they never lost sight of their true home. They were filled with joy at the time of their deaths.
St. Liguori reminds us to live each day as if it were our last, “ Those who expect death every hour will die a good death, even though it should come to them suddenly.”
The good Saint goes on to remind us that time is a precious gift from God.
“Saint Benardine of Siena, for example, said that a moment of time is as valuable as God himself, because in one moment of time a person can, by an act of sorrow or an act of love, gain God’s grace and even heaven.”
So his message is to use time wisely. We “have only the present in which to do good”. He laments that too many people just “kill time” or use their precious time in useless conversation.
Wow. Today we have so many ways to waste time that were not available in his time. Television, iPods, the internet just to name a few. The devil can sleep in most days.
But we need to use our time to prepare for eternity. To prepare for judgment.
“How great is the distress and despair of travelers who discover, just as night is falling, that they have taken the wrong road, and now that they have no more time to correct their mistake. Such will be the anguish of those who come to die, realizing that they have given too much time on earth to worldly pursuits, and have not lived for God.
Holiness is not an intellectual exercise. It is faith in action. Every second of our life on this earth. Use it wisely.
Prayer (St. Liguori)
Mary my Mother, obtain for me the grace always to recommend myself to God, and to ask him for perseverance until death.