"A person who rails at God in adversity, suffers without merit; moreover by his lack of resignation he adds to his punishment in the next life and experiences greater disquietude of mind in this life."

St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"It is vanity to be concerned with the present only and not to make provision for things to come."

Thomas á Kempis

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"Men should often renew their good resolutions, and not lose heart because they are tempted against them."

St Philip Neri

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Blessed Henry Suso (1295 - 1366) Dominican and German mystic

 

A LITTLE BOOK OF ETERNAL WISDOM (cont)

 

by Blessed Henry Suso

THE FIRST PART

Ch 11. On The Everlasting Pains of Hell


Eternal Wisdom.--O my chosen one! now look from the very bottom of thy heart at this lamentable misery. Where are now all those who heretofore sat down amidst this temporal scene with tranquility and pleasure, with tenderness and comfort of body?

What avails them all the joys of this world which are as soon vanished on the wings of swift time as though they had never been? How quickly over is that carnal love for which pain must be eternally endured! O ye senseless fools! Where is now what ye so gaily uttered: "Hail, ye children of merriment, let us give holiday to sorrow, let us cherish the fullness of joy!" What avail now all the pleasures ye ever obtained?

Well may ye cry aloud with sorrowful voice; Woe upon us that ever we were born into the world! How has swift time deceived us! How has death stolen upon us! Is there any one still upon the earth who could be more deceived than we have been deceived? Or is there any one willing to take counsel from the calamity of others? If any one were to bear all the sufferings of all mankind for a thousand years it would only be as a moment against this!

How very happy is that man who has never sought after pleasures displeasing to God, who for His sake has renounced all temporal delights! We foolish ones, we deemed such men forsaken and forgotten of God: but see how He has embraced them in eternity with such marks of honour before all the heavenly host. What harm can all their sufferings and disgraces now do them, which have turned out so much to their joy?

Meanwhile, all that we so entirely loved, how is it vanished? Ah, misery on misery! and it must last for ever. Oh, for ever and ever, what are thou? Oh, end without end! Oh, dying above all dying, to be dying every hour, and yet never to die. Oh, father and mother, and all that we ever held dear, God bless you for ever and ever, for we shall never see you and love you again: we must ever be separated from you. Oh, separation, oh, everlasting separation, how grievous thou art! Oh, wringing, oh, shrieking and howling for ever, and yet never to be heard! Nothing but sorrow and distress must our wretched eyes behold, our ears be filled with nothing--but alas! nothing save only Woe is me! Oh, all hearts, let our lamentable For ever and ever! move your compassion, let our miserable For ever! pierce to your core.

Oh, ye mountains and valleys, why do ye wait for us, why do ye keep us so long, why do ye bear with us, why do ye not bury us from the lamentable sight? Oh, sufferings of that world and sufferings of this world, how very different ye are! Oh, time present, how blinding, how deceiving thou art, that we should not have foreseen this in the bright days of our youth, which we wasted so luxuriously, which will never more return! Oh, that we had but one little hour of all those vanished years! Yet this is denied by God's justice, and without any hope for us, ever must be denied.

Oh, suffering, and distress, and misery, in this forgotten land, where we must be separated from all that is dear, without solace or hope, for ever and ever! Nothing else would we desire than that if there was a millstone as broad as the whole earth, and in circumference so large that it everywhere touched the heavens, and that if there came a little bird every hundred thousand years, and took from the stone as much as the tenth part of a grain of millet, so as in ten hundred thousand years to peck away from the stone as much as an entire grain of millet; we unfortunates would desire nothing more than that, when the stone came to an end, our torments too might terminate; and yet even this cannot be. Behold, such is the song of woe which succeeds the joys of this world.

The Servant.--Oh, Thou severe Judge, how terrified are the depths of my heart, how powerless sinks my soul beneath the load of sorrow and compassion for those unhappy spirits! Who is there in the world that hears this, and is so insane as not to tremble at such fearful distress? Oh, Thou, my only love, forsake me not! Oh, Thou, my only chosen consolation, do not thus separate from me! Sooner than be thus separated from Thee, my only love, for ever and ever (I will say nothing of the rest), oh, misery of misery! I would prefer to be tormented a thousand times a day. When I but think of such a separation, my heart for anguish is like to break.

Yes, tender Father! do with me here what Thou wilt, Thou hast my free consent, but, oh, deliver me from this woeful separation, for I could by no means endure it.

Eternal Wisdom.--Cast away thy fear. That which is united in time
remains undivided in eternity.

The Servant.--Oh, Lord, would that all men heard this, who still consume their days so foolishly, so that they might become wise, and might reform their lives, before these things should overtake them. Oh, ye senseless, obdurate men! how long will ye protract your foolishness, sinful lives?

Be converted to God, and shield yourselves against this wretched misery, and lamentation of eternal woe.