"'Et Mortuus est;' 'And he died.' With this record ends every life -- even the longest life. One day it shall be said of me: 'he is dead,' 'she is dead.'
'See then how matters stand with thee,' says the gentle Thomas a Kempis; "a man is here today and tomorrow he is vanished.
'And when he is taken away from the sight he is quickly also out of mind.
'Oh, the dullness and hardness of man's heart, which only thinks of what is present, and looks not forward to things to come.
'If thou hadst a good conscience thou wouldst not much fear death.
'If thou art not prepared today, how shalt thou be tomorrow
'Tomorrow is an uncertain day; how dost thou know that thou shalt be alive tomorrow?
'Blessed is he that has always the hour of death before his eyes and every day disposes himself to die.
'Many die suddenly and when they little think of it: 'Because at what hour you know not the Son of Man will come' (Matt. xxiv. 44)
'How happy and prudent is he, who strives to be during all his life and especially now as he desires to he found at his death.
'Trust not in thy friends and relations, nor put off the welfare of thy soul to hereafter; for men will sooner forget thee than thou imaginest.
'It is better now to provide in time and send some good before thee, than to trust to the help of others after thy death (Matt. vi. 20).
'How many die each day and how many thinking to live long have been deceived and unexpectedly snatched away!
'Strive now to live so that in the hour of thy death thou mayst rather rejoice than fear.
'Learn now to die to the world that then thou mayst begin to live with Christ (Rom. vi. 8).
'Chastise thy body now by penance that thou mayst then have an assured confidence (I Cor. ix. 27)
'Make now to thyself friends, by honoring the saints of God, and imitating their actions, that when thou shalt fail in this life they may receive thee into ever-lasting dwellings (Luke xvi. 9).
'Keep thyself as a pilgrim, and a stranger upon earth. Refrain yourselves from carnal desires, which war against the soul (I Peter ii. 11).
'Keep thy heart free and raised upward to God, because thou has not here a lasting abode.
'Send thither thy daily prayers, with sighs and tears, that after death thy spirit may be worthy to pass happily to Our Lord. Amen."
"'Eye hath not seen, nor ear herd, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love Him' (I Cor. ii.9).'
'Heavenly happiness,' as Boethius observes 'is a state made perfect by the concurrence of every good.' This perfect happiness, moreover, will be eternal and can not be lost.
'Your joy,' says Christ, 'no man shall take from you" (John xvi. 22).
The oracle of the Royal Prophet will be fulfilled in heaven: 'They (the saints) shall be inebriated with the plenty of Thy house, and Thou shalt make them drink of the torrent of pleasure" (Ps. xxxv. 9).
'The sufferings of this life,' says St. Paul, 'are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed to us" (Rom. viii. 18).
'Would you know what heaven is?' asks St. Bernard; 'it is a place where there is nothing that causes pain, where there is everything which you might desire.' From heaven are banished all evils and all sufferings; for 'God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying nor sorrow shall be any more' (Apoc. [Rev.] xxi. 4).
In heaven shall be found every good and every delight. But the greatest joy of heaven is to behold the face of God, and in Him to be possessed of every good.
'I am thy reward exceedingly great' (Gen. xv. 1); thus spoke the Lord to Abraham. And what can lack who possesses God, Who is the source of all is good, true, and beautiful? Hence the prophet says: "I shall be satisfied when Thy glory shall appear' (Ps. xv. 15).
'How lovely are Thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts, my soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of Lord!' (Ps. Iviii. 2).
In all the trials of life, keep your eyes toward heaven, then you can not lose your peace of soul; let your heart pant after the imperishable treasures of heaven.
'But we must remember,' as Lescoubier observes in his 'Monthly Recollection,' 'that heaven is a reward promised to them that deserve it through their good works. Labor as a good soldier of Christ Jesus and if perchance the burden weighs heavy and the labor is hard, encourage yourself by looking up to the reward.... Fulfill faithfully all your duties: be ye steadfast and unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not vain in the Lord (I Cor. xv. 58).
'Heavenly glory is called a crown. Now, he that striveth for the mastery, is not crowned except he strive lawfully (I Tim. ii. 5). Fight then the good fight of the faith, the battles of the Lord; be steadfast and courageous; and soon you shall receive a never-fading crown of glory (I Pet. v. 4).
'Heaven is the kingdom of God; we are its heirs. But it is the will and the law of God that through many tribulations we must enter into that kingdom (Acts xiv. 22) as Christ also had to suffer and so to enter into His glory (Luke xxiv. 26). So that the way to heaven is the way of the cross. Let us then follow our beloved Master on the way of His passion, ' ' for this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure...(2 Cor. iv.17)NRSV.'"
The two images are details from Michelangelo's Last Judgment. The first depicts the resurrection of the dead, and the second depicts two people being lifted into heaven by an angel. The images were obtained from Christus Rex and are used with permission. Images and text presented here and elsewhere in our parish web site are for educational and religious purposes only. No other use is intended or permitted.