and the Punishment of Sin
ALL things consider the end; how you shall stand before the strict Judge from
Whom nothing is hidden and Who will pronounce judgment in all justice, accepting
neither bribes nor excuses. And you, miserable and wretched sinner, who fear
even the countenance of an angry man, what answer will you make to the God Who
knows all your sins? Why do you not provide for yourself against the day of
judgment when no man can be excused or defended by another because each will
have enough to do to answer for himself? In this life your work is profitable,
your tears acceptable, your sighs audible, your sorrow satisfying and purifying.
patient man goes through a great and salutary purgatory when he grieves more
over the malice of one who harms him than for his own injury; when he prays
readily for his enemies and forgives offences from his heart; when he does not
hesitate to ask pardon of others; when he is more easily moved to pity than to
anger; when he does frequent violence to himself and tries to bring the body
into complete subjection to the spirit.
is better to atone for sin now and to cut away vices than to keep them for
purgation in the hereafter.
truth, we deceive ourselves by our ill-advised love of the flesh. What will that
fire feed upon but our sins? The more we spare ourselves now and the more we
satisfy the flesh, the harder will the reckoning be and the more we keep for the
a man will be more grievously punished in the things in which he has sinned.
There the lazy will be driven with burning prongs, and gluttons tormented with
unspeakable hunger and thirst; the wanton and lust-loving will be bathed in
burning pitch and foul brimstone; the envious will howl in their grief like mad
vice will have its own proper punishment. The proud will be faced with every
confusion and the avaricious pinched with the most abject want. One hour of
suffering there will be more bitter than a hundred years of the most severe
penance here. In this life men sometimes rest from work and enjoy the comfort of
friends, but the damned have no rest or consolation.
must, therefore, take care and repent of your sins now so that on the day of
judgment you may rest secure with the blessed. For on that day the just will
stand firm against those who tortured and oppressed them, and he who now submits
humbly to the judgment of men will arise to pass judgment upon them. The poor
and humble will have great confidence, while the proud will be struck with fear.
He who learned to be a fool in
that day every trial borne in patience will be pleasing and the voice of
iniquity will be stilled; the devout will be glad; the irreligious will mourn;
and the mortified body will rejoice far more than if it had been pampered with
every pleasure. Then the cheap garment will shine with splendour and the rich
one become faded and worn; the poor cottage will be more praised than the gilded
palace. In that day persevering patience will count more than all the power in
this world; simple obedience will be exalted above all worldly cleverness; a
good and clean conscience will gladden the heart of man far more than the
philosophy of the learned; and contempt for riches will be of more weight than
every treasure on earth.
you will find more consolation in having prayed devoutly than in having fared
daintily; you will be happy that you preferred silence to prolonged gossip.
holy works will be of greater value than many fair words; strictness of life and
hard penances will be more pleasing than all earthly delights.
then, to suffer little things now that you may not have to suffer greater ones
in eternity. Prove here what you can bear hereafter. If you can suffer only a
little now, how will you be able to endure eternal torment? If a little
your life to this moment had been full of honours and pleasures, what good would
it do if at this instant you should die? All is vanity, therefore, except to
love God and to serve Him alone.
who loves God with all his heart does not fear death or punishment or judgment
or hell, because perfect love assures access to God.
is no wonder that he who still delights in sin fears death and judgment.
is good, however, that even if love does not as yet restrain you from evil, at
least the fear of hell does. The man who casts aside the fear of God cannot
continue long in goodness but will quickly fall into the snares of the devil.