Following His Footsteps
by Anselmo del Álamo
Chapter 22. The Last Things: Death and Judgment, Hell and Glory
The Last Things are a lesson of great transcendence. They produce genuine and authentic results. There is nothing more certain than death, nor anything more terrible, if we look at it only with the eyes of the flesh: It is a tortuous and insoluble enigma for a man who is occupied only with the affairs of this world.
Death is a hidden secret, because life is an unintelligible hieroglyph, and its wonderful meaning only appears when it is seen from another angle. When it is seen with the looking-glass of faith, everything comes out clear and consoling.
Death is a latch that opens the eternal doors for us, after an anguished exile.
The judgment: the rectification of many misunderstandings, in most cases favorable for us.
The thought of gehenna is the best corrector of our conscience, and the only restraint for our disordered appetites.
Glory, Heaven is the fatherland where our heavenly Father awaits us. After having endured the disillusionment of this life, comes the great adventure of the revelation of his grandeur and love. What a marvelous surprise awaits us! Behind the lattice of the last things... to see the countenance of our Father for the first time, and forever.
1. O death! I do not know who should fear you, for in you is life. But who will not fear you, having spent part of it in not loving God? -- St. Teresa of Jesus
2. When one is going to die, it is the remembrance of the little things that one has done only for God, and of which he was the only witness, that produces pleasure. -- Marie Antoinette de Geuser
3. What will I fear? Death? You already know that Christ is my life, and death a gain. Exile? But all the earth is of the Lord. The loss of my goods? We brought nothing to this world, and we will take nothing from it. I despise fears, I laugh at possessions, I neither fear poverty nor desire riches, nor does death frighten me, and if I want to live, it is for the good of your souls. -- St. John Chrysostom
4. But what gives me most peace now (at the hour of death), is the fact that I have battled and suffered to do the will of God, and to die faithful. -- Sister Josefa Menendez
5. When we die we make restitution: we return to the earth what the earth has given us... a little dust: that is what we will become. Is there any reason to be proud of ourselves? -- The Cure of Ars
6. How will he die in the Lord .... the religious who in life did not work for the Lord? -- St. Joseph Calasanctius
7. Souls do not know how much Jesus loves them! The more they have lived in the obscurity of faith, so much the more does Jesus reward them at the hour of death. -- Sister Josefa Menendez
8. I affirm, because much experience has taught me, that of a hundred thousand souls that lived continually evil lives, there is scarcely one who might obtain mercy from God at the last hour. -- St. Jerome
9. Do not delay in being converted to the Lord, for his wrath will come quickly. Are you afraid of dying an evil death, but not of living an evil life? Stop living an evil life, and you will not fear to die an evil death. -- St. Augustine
10. I wish I had a voice of thunder, so that I could be heard in the whole world. I would speak to all those who inhabit it, and in effect, I feel moved to say it to them. Oh unfortunate mortals, why do you permit yourselves to be tyrannized by the world? Why do you not reflect upon the anguish that you will find at your death? Why do you not gaze into the future, while there is still time? -- St. Catherine of Genoa
11. Man can resist fire, the waves, iron and even the power of kings: but death will come, and who can resist it? -- St. Augustine
12. Know, my father, that my soul was found in an unknown world, and there I saw and understood the glory of the just and the chastisement of sinners, but, I repeat, memory fails me, and words are incapable of expressing these things. Nevertheless, I will tell you, what I can: I am certain I have seen the divine essence: and for this very reason I suffer so much in seeing myself chained to my body. I saw the torments of Hell and Purgatory; there is no word that can express them. If poor human beings only had the slightest idea of them, they would prefer death a thousand times before enduring the least of them for one day. When my soul contemplates these things, my heavenly Bridegroom, whom I believed I would possess forever, told me: You now see what glory they lose and what punishments they suffer, all those who offend me. Return, then, to the world, and show them their aberration, and the danger that they risk. -- St. Catherine of Siena
13. St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzis wished the novices who were subject to her, to offer to God even the least and most insignificant actions, and she promised them that if they were exact in this, they would arrive in Heaven without passing through Purgatory. -- St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzis
14. Jesus, Jesus, have mercy on me while it is the time of mercy: do not condemn me at the time of judgment. -- St. Anselm
15. It is preferable to suffer all possible torments until the end of the world, rather than one day in Purgatory. -- St. Cyril of Alexandria
16. The least burn (que) of the fire of Purgatory is more cruel than all the evils of this life. -- St. Thomas Aquinas
17. The torments of Purgatory are greater than those suffered by criminals and those suffered by the holy martyrs. -- St. Bede the Venerable
18. Between the natural fire of this world and that of Purgatory, there is as great a difference as that between real fire and an image or painting of fire. -- St. Bernard
19. Although this fire is for the salvation of those who endure it, nevertheless I am sure that for them it will be more terrible than all the torments a man could suffer in this world. -- St. Augustine
20. I would willingly accept the fire of Purgatory until the Last Judgment, provided I could save just one soul. What does the prolongation of my pains matter to me, if with them I can rescue only one soul, or rather many, for the greater glory of God? -- St. Teresa of Jesus
21. The soul that is shut up in those lower places is seized with such a vivid desire of being united to God, that its desire forms its Purgatory; for it is not the place that purifies the soul, but rather the pain produced by the impediment, that detains its instinct of being united to God. -- St. Catherine of Genoa
22. It is true that there (in Purgatory) the torments are so great that the most terrible pains of this life cannot be compared to them; but the interior satisfaction is also so great, that there is no prosperity or happiness in this world that can equal them. -- St. Francis de Sales
23. I observed that God is infinitely good, as he is infinitely great, purifying man in the fires of Purgatory: there he consumes and annihilates everything that man is according to nature, to transform him into himself and divinize him in a certain measure. -- St. Catherine of Genoa
24. Hell is a consequence of God's goodness. The condemned souls will say: Oh, if God had not loved us so much, we would suffer less; hell would be bearable. But to have been so loved. What pain! -- The Cure of Ars
26. No one who has Hell before his eyes will fall into it: and on the contrary, no one who despises it will escape it. -- St. John Chrysostom
27. Eternal fire makes me shudder: I tremble with fear: I would like to give you security, if I had it for myself. Truly, anyone who cannot be awakened by thunder of such magnitude, is not sleeping, but spiritually dead. -- St. Augustine
28. It is easy to pass from the cell to Heaven: when one dies in the cloister, he has the sweet assurance of being saved, because it is difficult to persevere until death, unless one is predestined for Heaven. -- St. Bernard
29. Religious life is the gate of Paradise, in such a way that to be consecrated to God here below, is equivalent to being chosen to be the companion of the blessed in heaven. -- St. Lawrence Justinian
30. Paradise is peace without perturbation that surpasses every sense, blessed repose, that confounds all intelligence. There all the saints are absorbed in the torrent of divine pleasure, they are submerged in delights and are sweetly dissolved in God, for the Lord has granted them forever and ever the intuitive contemplation of his most sweet face. -- Venerable Louis Blosius
31. I am certain the thrones of the seraphim that remained empty by the defection of Satan's companions, will be filled by religious. -- St. Alphonsus de Liguori
32. Paradise is the glorious reign of Heaven; there it is where resides the great recompense, that the eye of man has not seen, nor his ear heard, nor his intellect ever suspected. It is the dwelling of eternal joy, of complete and eternal exultation. It is there where resounds the canticle of jubilee, and the sweet singing of the Alleluia. It is there where is forever heard the ineffable melody of the canticles and of the instruments, and where the feast of eternity is celebrated. It is there where all the saints praise God without fatigue for the ages of the ages. It is there where abound all riches and all delights. -- Venerable Louis Blosius
33. In Heaven, I think it will be my mission to bring souls to a greater recollection and interior reflection, so that they may go out of themselves and become united to God, with simplicity and loving abandonment. -- Sister Elizabeth of the Holy Trinity
34. Paradise is the promised land, the region of immortality and of infinite clarity. There exists the fountain of life and of everlasting light. There God himself, who is the uncreated splendor infinitely serene and delectable, lovingly illumines the saints. It is there where he lovingly draws to himself their affection and love, where he satiates them all with blessedness and happiness, filling them with himself, and being all in all. -- Venerable Louis Blosius
Siguiendo Sus Huellas (Following His Footsteps) was written by Rev. Anselmo del Alamo, Sch. P., in Getafe, Spain (near Madrid) in 1963.
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