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Wednesday in the the first Week of Advent.





 

Meditations - Wednesday in the first Week of Advent: The Scrutiny of Conscience

Summary of the Morrow’s Meditation

We will meditate tomorrow on the last judgment, on the preliminaries of which we meditated this morning, and we shall observe: first, the severe examination which will then be made into the consciences of all men; second, the glory which will accrue to the good from it; third, the confusion into which the wicked will be cast. We will then make the resolution: first, to cite ourselves every evening to repair before the tribunal of Jesus Christ, and to ask ourselves what the Sovereign Judge will say of this present day; what He will say of the way in which I have employed it, of the words which I have uttered, of the thoughts in which I have indulged; second, to remind ourselves at every hour during the day of the words of St Paul: “After this, the judgment” (heb ix:27).


Meditation for the Morning Let us represent to ourselves the Sovereign Judge seated upon His throne. All nations are assembled before Him; the accused are cited to appear; let us suppose that it is ourselves. Let us humble ourselves and tremble.

First point


Examination which will be Made into the Conscience of all Men on the Last Day.

I shall appear then before this terrible tribunal. There my cause will be taken in hand; the whole of my life will be revealed on that great day; the evil committed, and the good omitted, and the good ill-performed, and the graces fruitlessly received, and the same lost or badly employed, and every word and every action, and the motive which has made me act or speak, and each thought and mental reservation, and the confessions made without amendment, and the communions without love, and the prayers without attention (mat x:6). You were a man, you were a Christian, you had the duties be longing to your state to fulfil, the Sovereign Judge will say to me: Render Me an account of the whole of your conduct in respect to these things. As man, I created you after My own likeness; where are the divine features that I impressed on your soul when I gave you life the integrity, the probity, the moderation, the perfect decorum which characterize the good man created after My likeness? As a Christian, what conformity has there been between your life and the Gospel—that law so chaste, so severe, so inflexible, of which there is not a single iota which ought not to find in you its accomplishment? As placed in a condition of life which involves responsibilities towards the Church, to society, to the family, in what manner have you fulfilled all your duties? Have you not neglected them in order to save yourself discomfort and constraint? Have you not placed pleasure before duty, enjoyment before conscience? What an immense field for examination! Let us judge ourselves now, in order not to be judged then (1co xi:31).

Second point


The Glory which will Accrue to the Good from the Examination into their Conscience.


At that day God will render to every man the glory which will be his due (1co iv:5). He will reveal to the admiration of all nations all the merits of the just man, his virtue so pure, his intentions so upright, his sentiments so elevated and magnanimous, his gentleness so constant, his patience so persevering, his prayers so fervent, even to the most transient thoughts of his mind, the slightest movements of his heart, the most insignificant of his acts or words of charity (psa xxxvi:6). All the people will applaud so edifying a recital; all those who will have been witnesses of so beautiful a life will relate in their turn all that they have remarked in it which was pious and meek and amiable. Oh, what a beautiful day of triumph for the just, what a beautiful feast at which they will vie with each other in honouring his conscience which he kept always pure: his parents, his friends whom he edified, Jesus Christ whose glory he procured. How great reason had St Paul to exclaim in the midst of trials and tribulations: I suffer, but I am not confounded. I have laid all my troubles in the hands of my God, and He will compensate me at the great day of His justice (2ti iv:8). How appropriate this thought is to console us in our troubles, to encourage us in our difficulties.

Third point


The Confusion into which the Wicked will be cast by the Examination into their Conscience.

This examination will overwhelm them with in describable confusion, first, at beholding in one of the scales of the balance of the Sovereign Judge all the graces received: exterior graces through sacraments, instructions, good examples; interior graces through good thoughts and pious impulses; and in the other scale, where so much holiness was required to maintain the equilibrium, nothing, or almost nothing; no solid virtue; far less than nothing, many sins. Confusion, second, at seeing their conscience revealed to the gaze of all nations, who will therein read so many secret sins, so many illicit thoughts and desires, so much self-love and proud pretensions, perhaps so many mysteries of iniquity. Confusion, third, at hearing the cries of indignation bursting forth from so many souls, who, without having any other means of salvation, have raised themselves to a great height of virtue; so many others who, in a less favourable position, have preserved themselves pure in the midst of the contagion of the world, recollected amidst the distractions consequent upon business, humble and detached amidst grandeur and riches. He is guilty of death (mat xxvi:66), they will exclaim, and with these cries of reprobation will be mingled those of infidel nations, saying anathema to the despiser of graces; those of demons claiming him as their prey; those, above all, of his own conscience, which will tear him with remorse and will force him to exclaim, I see clearly all the evil I have done and I cannot deny it (1ma vi:12). O God, preserve me from such terrible confusion; pierce my flesh with the fear of Thy judgments (psa cxviii:120). In order to avert it I am ready for everything. I will convert myself.

Resolutions and spiritual nosegay as above.

 



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