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We know our God is a God of unlimited mercy.
So long as we have breath in our earthly lungs and turn to Him in true repentance, seeking His forgiveness and mercy, we will receive it.
But not a single human being can presume upon God’s mercy, since He is also a God of Justice.
Presumption is, as the Baltimore Catechism tells us, “a rash expectation of salvation without making proper use of the necessary means to obtain it.”
We ignore God, His graces, promptings and teachings at our eternal peril.
In order not to be caught by surprise, we would do well as we end the old year and welcome in the new one, to set aside sufficient time today to silently reflect on how we have lived this past year and ponder whether or not we need to make adjustments in how we will live the rest of our lives - be it seconds, minutes, weeks, months or years.
May the following challenging but necessary reality check help us to make a fruitful reflection:
“O Christian soul, what will be your sentiments at the hour of death with regard to this world and all its perishable goods, vain honors, false riches and cheating pleasures. Alas! The world must then end in your regard. It will turn upside down before your eyes, and you will begin to see the nothingness of all those things on which you had here set your heart. How will you then despise all worldly honors and preferences when you see yourself at the brink of the grave, where the worm will make no distinction between the king and the beggar. How little account, will you then make of the esteem of men, who then will think no more of you. How will you undervalue your riches, which now must be left behind you, when six feet of earth and a coffin and a shroud will be all your possession. How despicable will all worldly pleasures seem to you, which at the best could never give you any true satisfaction, and now fly from you and dissolve into smoke in your sight! Ah, my poor soul, enter now into the same sentiments, which you shall certainly have at the hour of your death! Thus, and only thus, you shall be out of danger of being imposed upon by this deceitful world.
(From Think Well on It by Bishop Richard Challoner (pages 22-23)