A Year with the Saints – 31 December


Oh what remorse we shall feel at the end of our lives, when we look back upon the great number of instructions and examples afforded by God and the Saints for our perfection, and so carelessly received by us! If this end were to come to you today, how would you be pleased with the life you have led this year? – Saint Francis de Sales

Saint Vincent de Paul used often to say: “Oh wretched me! what an account I shall have to render at the tribunal of God, where I am so soon to appear, of the many graces His Divine Goodness has bestowed upon me, if I have derived no fruit from them!”

Saint John Berchmans was so attentive to his own perfection that whatever he learned in regard to it remained impressed upon his mind, and he put it into practice with the greatest exactness.

Thomas a Kempis tells of a pious person who one day fell into great anxiety in regard to his final perseverance.

Prostrating himself before an altar, he raised his eyes, and exclaimed: “Oh, if I only knew that I was to persevere in good to the end!” He instantly heard an interior voice that replied, “Well, if you knew, what would you do? Do now what you would wish to have done in that hour, and you will be in perfect security.” Consoled by this, he abandoned himself entirely into the hands of God, without further inquiry as to the good or bad state of his conscience, and rather endeavored to discover and fulfill the will of God to the best of his ability.

In the Lives of the Fathers we read of an old monk who, when asked what exercise should be employed to attain perfection, made this answer: “From the day I left the world, I have said to myself every morning: ‘Today you art born again! Begin now to serve God, and to live in this holy place! Commence thy life each day as if the following one were to end it!’ This I have done without missing a day.”

Monseigneur de Palafox, as we read in his Life, at the very beginning of his conversion had a light from on high by which he understood that he ought to live day by day, that is, to take all possible care to live as if he believed each day that he was then to die and render his account to God. He acted in this manner through the whole remainder of his life, and he confessed that a method so sure to give him satisfaction at the hour of death had also been of great value during his life. It is thus that we should profit in our lives by the lights that God gives us, if we desire in death to rejoice at having received them.

MLA Citation