EVERY MOMENT OF OUR LIVES WE STAND ON THE BRINK OF ETERNITY. TWELVE ADVANTAGES TO BE DERIVED FROM THE CONTEMPLATION OF DEATH
1. Contemplation of death enables us to judge properly and prevents our being imposed upon in all affairs. With nothing we came into this world, and with nothing shall we leave it. Why then should we consume our very lives in the accumulation of riches? No one is to accompany us out of this world; why then are we so fond of creatures? The stench and corruption of the grave in which the pampered body is the prey of the lowest vermin show us the folly of carnal pleasures. In our narrow cell beneath the earth among the meanest things of creation, when our very blanket of soil may be trampled upon by the meanest beggar, then we shall be freed of the vanity of seeking distinction and preference over others.
2. It is our best instructor through life, laying down but one simple rule, which is the direction of all our acts to one last end. This consideration drives away all the petty troubles which punctuate this life with unfailing regularity: it steadies us on the course and sustains us on the journey.
3. It teaches us to know ourselves, one of the essential points of true wisdom.
4. It teaches us to despise all that this world can offer, and is the solace of all true servants of God.
5. It is like ice, and helps to chill and deaden the fire of concupiscence; it is a bridle which curbs our sensual appetites.
6. It is a continual source of humiliation, a specific remedy against pride and vanity.
7. It is an excellent preservative against sin. “In all thy works be mindful of thy last end, and thou shalt never sin.” [Eccl. 7: 40]
8. It brings exasperated minds back to peace and reconciliation. Whoever considers seriously that a certain and unavoidable death will one day bring him before the Judge Who shows no mercy but to those who show mercy to others, he will easily be induced to forgive.
9. It is an antidote against the pleasures and vanities of the world. Thus the prince who once placed a jester in a crazy chair over a large fire told him very justly, seeing the jester’s uneasiness, that life should be considered like a defective chair, which at any hour, at any moment, might fall to pieces; and the fire beneath the prince represented as the fires of Hell which everyone should hold in dread.
10. It teaches us a provident economy with regard to our salvation, by setting before our eyes the transitory character of this life, and the necessity of laying up a treasure of good works while it is in our power to do so.
11. It induces us to embrace penances with a cheerful spirit.
12. It encourages us to persevere in the way of penance with unshakable firmness.
Taken from the Spiritual Combat by Lorenzo Scupoli. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!