Very soon your life here will end; consider, then,
what may be in store for you elsewhere. Today we
live; tomorrow we die and are quickly forgotten. Oh,
the dullness and hardness of a heart which looks only
to the present instead of preparing for that which is
Therefore, in every deed and every thought, act as
though you were to die this very day. If you had a
good conscience you would not fear death very much.
It is better to avoid sin than to fear death. If you
are not prepared today, how will you be prepared
tomorrow? Tomorrow is an uncertain day; how do you
know you will have a tomorrow?
What good is it to
live a long life when we amend that life so little?
Indeed, a long life does not always benefit us, but
on the contrary, frequently adds to our guilt. Would
that in this world we had lived well throughout one
single day. Many count up the years they have spent
in religion but find their lives made little holier.
If it is so terrifying to die, it is nevertheless
possible that to live longer is more dangerous.
Blessed is he who keeps the moment of death ever
before his eyes and prepares for it every day.
If you have ever seen a man die, remember that you,
too, must go the same way. In the morning consider
that you may not live till evening, and when evening
comes do not dare to promise yourself the dawn. Be
always ready, therefore, and so live that death will
never take you unprepared. Many die suddenly and
unexpectedly, for in the unexpected hour the Son of
God will come. When that last moment arrives you will
begin to have a quite different opinion of the life
that is now entirely past and you will regret very
much that you were so careless and remiss.
How happy and prudent is he who tries now in life
to be what he wants to be found in death. Perfect
contempt of the world, a lively desire to advance in
virtue, a love for discipline, the works of penance,
readiness to obey, self-denial, and the endurance of
every hardship for the love of Christ, these will
give a man great expectations of a happy death.
You can do many good works when in good health;
what can you do when you are ill? Few are made better
by sickness. Likewise they who undertake many
pilgrimages seldom become holy.
Do not put your trust in friends and relatives, and
do not put off the care of your soul till later, for
men will forget you more quickly than you think. It
is better to provide now, in time, and send some good
account ahead of you than to rely on the help of
others. If you do not care for your own welfare now,
who will care when you are gone?
The present is very precious; these are the days of
salvation; now is the acceptable time. How sad that
you do not spend the time in which you might purchase
everlasting life in a better way. The time will come
when you will want just one day, just one hour in
which to make amends, and do you know whether you
will obtain it?
See, then, dearly beloved, the great danger from
which you can free yourself and the great fear from
which you can be saved, if only you will always be
wary and mindful of death. Try to live now in such a
manner that at the moment of death you may be glad
rather than fearful. Learn to die to the world now,
that then you may begin to live with Christ. Learn to
spurn all things now, that then you may freely go to
Him. Chastise your body in penance now, that then you
may have the confidence born of certainty.
Ah, foolish man, why do you plan to live long when
you are not sure of living even a day? How many have
been deceived and suddenly snatched away! How often
have you heard of persons being killed by drownings,
by fatal falls from high places, of persons dying at
meals, at play, in fires, by the sword, in
pestilence, or at the hands of robbers! Death is the
end of everyone and the life of man quickly passes
away like a shadow.
Who will remember you when you are dead? Who will
pray for you? Do now, beloved, what you can, because
you do not know when you will die, nor what your fate
will be after death. Gather for yourself the riches
of immortality while you have time. Think of nothing
but your salvation. Care only for the things of God.
Make friends for yourself now by honoring the saints
of God, by imitating their actions, so that when you
depart this life they may receive you into
Keep yourself as a stranger here on earth, a
pilgrim whom its affairs do not concern at all. Keep
your heart free and raise it up to God, for you have
not here a lasting home. To Him direct your daily
prayers, your sighs and tears, that your soul may
merit after death to pass in happiness to the Lord.