In the previous discourses we have attempted in some manner to indicate a suggestion of the need for remorse, and as though in soliloquies have wished to arouse the listlessness, of our own certainly, and yet of every heart. But since poverty of faith and the will of the flesh, coupled with the lusts of the world, scorns these lessons of denunciation as it gives them a lukewarm hearing, the same must be repeated very often; for if faith were not doubtful, even one of the aforesaid evidences of the divine mentor would abundantly suffice. Thus those who neglect what they have heard believe and do not believe; otherwise if today, as
p.113someone says, you were told that a judge of this world wishes to burn you alive tomorrow, what anxiety, I ask, what fear would threaten you? And having heard this, if the extent of a single day were free for you, what would you do, how would you grovel, whom would you hasten to visit, how would you run about in lowliness and sorrow and mourning clothes? Would you not scatter all your money on those by whose good offices you thought you could escape? Would you not make all your goods the price of your soul
cf. Prov. 13. 8and keep nothing back, though you were thrifty and greedy, but would disburse all, bestow all for your life? And if someone tried to stop or hinder you, would you not say, Let them all perish for my safety, and let nothing remain; only let me live? Why would you do this? Because you did not doubt that you would burn tomorrow according to the verdict of a most strict judge. But here you doubt what you know not how soon it shall come to pass; yet you are not ignorant that it will come, though you pay no heed. Then you must awaken, watch and pray, according to the teaching of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and our God, when He said, But take heed to yourselves, lest perchance your hearts be weighed down with wine-bibbing and drunkenness and the cares of this life, and that day come upon you unawares; for as a snare shall it come upon all who dwell over the face of the whole earth. Therefore watch at all times, that you may be deemed worthy to escape all these things that shall be, and to stand before the Son of Man.
Luc. 21. 34-36
If we hear this and believe, our watchfulness will show our faith, and as we shake off the filthy and drowsy slumbers of a deadly sloth, let the judgement of our Lord and Saviour nerve our feelings, so that laying aside all mortal cares we may ever be prepared, because we await the coming of the last day, on which either punishment or glory shall receive us; and let the aforesaid word of the Lord, by which He taught us to be constantly watching and praying, sharpen the edge of our minds, that we be not as if we believed and did not believe, and as if we heard and did not hear; and let us unweariedly beseech, request, and pray for the unspeakable mercy of the righteous and good God from the bottom of our heart through Jesus Christ His Son, that He may deign so to inspire us with His love, that He join us to Him for eternity, weld us together inseparably, raise us from the ground, unite our senses to heaven all the time that we are stationed in this body of death;
cf. Rom. 7. 24and may we so await His coming without complaint, that when He shall appear we may run in welcome to meet Him with joy and great confidence of love. How blessed, how happy are those servants, whom the Lord when He comes shall find watching!
Luc. 12. 37Blessed watch, in which they watch for God the Creator of the universe, Who fills all things and surpasses all! Would that me also, wretched though I be, yet His poor servant, He might deign so to arouse from the sleep of idleness, so to kindle with that fire of
p.115divine love, that the flame of His love, the longing of His so great charity, would mount above the stars, and the divine fire would ever burn within me! Would that I had the tinder to foster, feed, and keep alight that fire unceasingly, and nourish that flame, which knows no quenching and knows all increase! Would that I were of such deserving, that my lamp might ever burn by night in he temple of my Lord, I that to all entering the house of my God it might give light.
Lord, grant me, I pray Thee in the name of Jesus Christ Thy Son, my God, that love which knows no fall, so that my lamp may feel the kindling touch and know no quenching, may burn for me and for others may give light. Do Thou, Christ, deign to kindle our lamps, our Saviour most sweet to us, that they may shine continually in Thy temple, and receive perpetual light from Thee the Light perpetual, so that our darkness may be enlightened, and yet the world's darkness may be driven from us. Thus do Thou enrich my lantern with Thy light, I pray Thee, Jesus mine, so that by its light there may be disclosed to me those holy places of the holy, which hold Thee the eternal Priest of the eternal things, entering there in the pillars of that great temple of Thine, that constantly I may see, observe, desire Thee only, and loving Thee only may behold, and before Thee my lamp may ever shine and burn. Be it Thine, I beg, most loving Saviour, to reveal Thyself to us who beseech Thee, so that knowing Thee, we may love Thee only, love Thee alone, desire Thee alone, contemplate Thee alone by day and night, and ever hold Thee in our thoughts; and do Thou deign so far to inspire us with Thy love, as it befits Thee to be loved and cherished as our God; that Thy charity may possess all our inward parts, and Thy love may own us all, and Thine affection may fill all our senses, so that we may know no other love apart from Thee Who art eternal; that such affection may be in us impossible of quenching by the many waters of this air and land and sea, according to that saying, And many waters are not able to quench love;
Cant. 8. 7which in us also can be fulfilled even in part, by the gift of Thee our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom is the glory unto ages of ages.